It might not have looked like it, but Gavin Lux knew he wasn't in the California League anymore.
"No, I noticed right away," the sixth-ranked Dodgers prospect said about his Double-A debut Thursday. "Pitchers execute pitches better, they go after your weakness. The games are cleaner. I noticed right away."
But that couldn't be told from his performance. Lux homered, singled twice and drove in two runs to lead Tulsa past Arkansas, 5-1, at ONEOK Field.
Video: Gavin Lux launches first homer
The No. 20 pick in the 2016 First-Year Player Draft hit .244 in 2017 at Class A Great Lakes, amassing a .260 average in the second half with six homers. He continued that momentum when he moved up to Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga this year.The Wisconsin native batted .324/.396/.520 in 88 games with the Quakes and mashed 11 homers after belting seven in 434 at-bats last season.
"I think I'm using my lower half more, but also I'm getting a little stronger," Lux said. "It's just approach too, and like I said, it's getting that pitch I like and trying not to miss it. You've got to capitalize on mistakes. ... I wouldn't say 'launch angle', but I am definitely trying to hit the ball in the air more."
He was promoted to Tulsa on Wednesday, and leading off Thursday, the 20-year-old quickly showed he wasn't intimidated. He singled to start the game against Ashton Goudeau before scoring on Cael Brockmeyer's single to left field.
Gameday box score
Lux lined out to second base in the second inning and then smacked a single into right in the fourth.
The left-handed hitter muscled up in the sixth, ripping a ball over the wall in right for a two-run homer. With a chance at his third career four-hit game, he struck out looking in the eighth.
Lux said he didn't do anything different in his first start in the Texas League.
"No, I don't think it changed," he said about his approach. "I still looked for the same pitches that I know I can drive, but when you get down 0-2, it's fight or flight, and you just kind of grind it out."
The shortstop knows even with his promotion, there's still work to do. He's batting .343/.417/.559 against right-handed pitchers, but .230/.288/.328 against southpaws.
"That's kind of my biggest challenge," Lux said. "I feel way more comfortable against righties because I've had way more at-bats off them, but every time I get a lefty, I look at it as a challenge. I got straight into two-strike mode, but it's definitely something I'm still working on."
Wes Darvill collected two hits and two RBIs while Eric Peterson cracked two doubles. On the mound, Justin DeFratus (4-3) allowed an unearned run on three hits and a walk with seven strikeouts across 7 2/3 innings.
For Arkansas, top-ranked Mariners prospect Kyle Lewis singled twice.