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Two slams better than one for Sands

Dodgers farmhand is fifth in PCL history to accomplish feat
July 30, 2012
The first time Jerry Sands stepped to the plate with the bases loaded Sunday night, he hit a grand slam. The second time, he grounded out.

Against all probability, he got one more chance with the bases full and made sure not to squander it.

Sands became the fifth player in Pacific Coast League history to hit two grand slams in one game, powering the Albuquerque Isotopes to an 11-0 rout of the Nashville Sounds in the nightcap of a doubleheader.

The 24-year-old right fielder put the Isotopes on the board in the first with his first slam, then bounced to third with the bases loaded an inning later. In the fourth, he took a fastball from starter Seth McClung and sent it over the left-field wall.

Gregorio Petit (Oklahoma City, 2010), A.J. Pierzynski (Salt Lake, 2000), Babe Pinelli (San Francisco, 1929) and Pete Schneider (Vernon, 1923) are the only other PCL players to hit two grand slams in a game.

"I grounded out the second time and it was pretty cool to see [the bases loaded] again," Sands said. "I just thought about driving the ball to bring in a run. In both situations, there were less than two outs and I just wanted to get it to the outfield for at least a sacrifice fly.

"Obviously, I'm trying to get the ball elevated and if I get a hold of one, I knew it could get out, but that wasn't the main concern. Today was just one of those crazy ones."

The eight RBIs were a career high for Sands, who'd never driven in more than five runs in a game. It was his second multi-homer contest of the season.

The 2008 25th-round Draft pick is hitting .274 with a .360 on-base percentage and .494 slugging percentage. He ranks fifth in the PCL with 18 homers and fourth with 72 RBIs. Last season with Albuquerque, he totaled 29 homers and 88 RBIs in only 94 games, slugging .586.

Sands also appeared in 61 games with the Dodgers in 2011, batting .253 with four homers and 26 RBIs. He had an eight-game stint in Los Angeles earlier this year and went 4-for-20 with one RBI.

Sands has heated up in July with a .323 average, seven homers and 22 RBIs in 25 games. The Catawba College product got off to a slow start, then batted .340 in May, spending half the month in the Majors.

"I'd had kind of a down year, was trying to work out some kinks on some things, but I feel a lot better the last week or so swinging the bat," he said. "What they're looking at me to do is drive the ball, hit home runs, and hopefully this is something strong to end the season on. I figure with a month, month and a half, left I can build on this, game after game."

Trent Oeltjen helped set the table for Sands, going 4-for-5 with a triple and three runs scored. Ivan De Jesus, Josh Fields and Scott Van Slyke -- the three batters immediately ahead of Sands in the Isotopes' lineup -- combined to draw seven walks.

Jonathan Raymond is a contributor to