Over the first eight games of a hitting streak that has now reached nine straight, Willson Contreras surprisingly watched his average dip 17 points.
No more. Contreras posted his first-ever multi-homer game and a career-high five RBIs, putting a charge into his longest hitting streak of the season as Triple-A Iowa used a 10-run sixth inning to finish a four-game sweep of Albuquerque, 11-0.
In an odd quirk, a string of one-hit showings had seen Contreras' average fall from .331 on May 20 to .314 heading into Memorial Day, but Monday's effort ended that trend as the Cubs' No. 2 prospect finished 4-for-5 to bump his average up to .329.
Contreras had already notched a single to center in the third inning when he did the same as the second man to the plate in the sixth. The next eight Cubs also reached base, six via hits and two on walks, plating six runs and bringing up Contreras with the bases loaded.
"Especially when you start the inning with a base hit, then you come up again with the bases loaded, I was just trying to put the ball in play," he said. "I wasn't trying to hit a grand slam, but it happens."
Contreras cranked his second career grand slam, his first since last July 28 with Double-A Tennessee, to cap the 10-run frame.
"We just focused at the plate," MLB.com's No. 45 overall prospect said. "We started hitting the ball to all fields. We started playing as a team, like we used to play. Today was a good day, especially when that 10-run inning came up. We've never given up through the rough times that we've had."
Iowa's win was its fourth straight and fifth in seven games after an eight-game losing streak.
After hitting his grand slam over the wall in right-center at Principal Park, Contreras got one more opportunity at the plate Monday and took advantage, leading off the eighth with his eighth home run of the season, a shot to right.
"I was trying to get on base like I'm always trying to do when I get up," he said. "I was trying to hit a line drive. I know it was a lefty, and he [reliever Ryan Carpenter] was throwing away to me. After he threw me a curveball, I was ready for a fastball away. I just put the barrel on it, and it went. I don't know how."
MLB.com's top catching prospect wasn't just authoring his second four-hit day of 2016 at the plate. He was also working splendidly behind it. The backstop helped pilot Jake Buchanan through six dominant frames as the right-hander scattered four hits, struck out two and did not walk a batter. Albuquerque didn't notch a hit against Felix Pena in the seventh and eighth, and No. 16 Cubs prospect Carl Edwards Jr. fanned two in a perfect ninth.
"I've got to give the credit to Buchanan," Contreras said. "He was able to keep the game at zeroes. He did a good job during the game, making adjustments and hitting his spots."
Iowa's success from the mound meant more to the 24-year-old than his work with the bat.
"To me, I can go 0-for-4, 0-for-5, 1-for-4, 2-for-4, but a shutout means a lot," Contreras said. "It's way better than getting four hits and losing the game. We've been getting better in everything, working with the pitchers, working together.
"I'm happy with everything. I'm happy with the team, with doing everything we've been doing. I always wake up in the morning thinking about the game, thinking about winning. I'm a baseball player, and that's all I want to do is win games."
Tyler Maun is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @TylerMaun.