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Red-hot Fletcher racking up hits for 66ers

Angels' No. 9 prospect gets four knocks, extends streak to 21 games
July 29, 2016

Tim Arakawa was promoted to the Texas League about two weeks ago, but there's a good chance he's going to be hearing Thursday night's California League action.

"I might shoot him a text later tonight," said David Fletcher, who tied Arakawa for the circuit's longest streak by successfully hitting in his 21st straight game. "Me and him are good buddies, actually, so that's pretty good."

The Angels' No. 9 prospect went 4-for-6 with a double, three runs scored and an RBI as Class A Advanced Inland Empire routed visiting Lake Elsinore, 12-3. It marked the fourth professional four-hit game for the 2015 sixth-round pick, and the first since he went 4-for-5 for Class A Burlington last July 30.

"It's a fun game whenever you get four hits," Fletcher said, "especially when we put up 12 runs and beat a team that's kind of been beating up on us all year."

Over his hitting streak, which started on July 6, the 22-year-old middle infielder is batting .375 with 19 runs scored. But after rethinking his original idea, Fletcher said he might not get in touch with Arakawa, who hit .398 during his run from April 23-May 15, until after he passes his pal's mark.

"That's probably a good idea," the Loyola Marymount product said. "It's fun coming to the field every day having the streak. It's kind of a little extra motivation to get a hit, if that's possible."

It paid off immediately Thursday when the right-handed hitter drove an 0-1 offering from Storm starter Chris Huffman the other way for a two-bagger in the first inning.

"Coming into the game," Fletcher said, "I always want to have good at-bats. I try not to think about getting a hit, but having quality at-bats and whatever happens, happens." 

The Orange, California native didn't stop there, though. He singled up the middle off Huffman in the next inning, poked a base knock to right against Gerardo Reyes in the seventh and collected an RBI single to center against Ricardo Valenzuela in the eighth. After his final hit, he said he was able to take in the moment.

"A little bit," Fletcher said. "When you have a four-hit game, it's always fun after you've been struggling as a team, and then you have a game putting up that many runs."

He boosted his season average to .274 and has clubbed three homers this month after going without one in 149 previous at-bats in the first three months of the campaign.

"I think I've gotten a little smarter as far as what they're trying to do to me, pitching-wise, and I've been able to make in-game adjustments a little bit more," Fletcher said. "I think that's made a big difference for me."

Inland Empire's 12 runs and 19 hits were season highs, and rehabbing Major Leaguer Shane Robinson went 1-for-3 with three walks and three runs scored. Zachary Houchins added four hits and three RBIs.

Justin Anderson (5-10) allowed three runs -- two earned -- on three hits and three walks while fanning three over six innings.

Huffman (9-4) surrendered six runs -- five earned -- on six hits and two walks in two frames.

Josh Jackson is a contributor to Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @JoshJacksonMiLB.