Tony Thompson has had some big nights this year. Some really, really big nights. He homered twice and drove in six runs on April 27, then collected seven RBIs in another two-homer game on May 20.
On Friday, he topped himself again.
Thompson homered twice and drove in a career-high nine runs to power Class A Advanced Stockton to a 14-6 victory over Visalia at Rawhide Ballpark.
The A's prospect said it was a game unlike any he's had before after going 4-for-5 with a walk and three runs scored.
"Never done anything like that, nothing that crazy," he said. "The most [RBIs] I've had by far, and it was pretty fun to have everybody in front of me getting on base, able to drive them in and help the team win. I was just getting good pitches to hit and the guys in front of me were getting on base every time I came up. It seemed like guys were in scoring position every time up there."
Thompson is in his second season with Stockton after the Oakland selected him in the sixth round of the 2010 Draft. A year ago, he batted .276/.344/.442 with 11 homers, 22 doubles and 49 RBIs in 94 games.
His return swing through the California League wasn't going quite as well, but he's regained his power stroke in the past couple months, hitting .263/.350/.515 with five homers, eight doubles and 23 RBIs in July. He's followed that up with a .407/.446/.644 line in 14 games in August, this after his first three months of the season yielded a high OPS of .711. And that was back in April.
"I've just been trying to see the ball better, put good swings on good pitches. When I got into a little rut I was not seeing the ball as well, not picking out a good pitch to hit, and now I'm doing that well lately," he said. "[Tonight] I just felt like I knew if someone was going to throw it over the plate I could put a good swing on it. I was seeing the ball well every at-bat, even with two strikes. Didn't panic, felt like I had the confidence to put the ball hard in play, and it ended up well."
The 24-year-old first baseman capped a four-run third inning with a three-run blast that gave Stockton a 4-2 lead. Visalia tied it in the bottom half, but he delivered a two-run single as the Ports scored six times in the sixth.
In the seventh, Philip Pohl singled and Myrio Richard and A's top prospect Addison Russell walked ahead of Thompson's second grand slam of the season.
Despite his earlier travails, which included a .202/.269/.286 line in 21 games as things bottomed out in June, he's been able to pull up his season totals fairly close to what he produced last year. After Friday, the University of Kansas product is hitting .258/.330/.444 overall with 16 longballs and 83 RBIs in 100 games.
"It feels good to have a game like that, especially down the stretch when we're trying to make a playoff run," Thompson said. "To help them out at the end of the season, we're trying to win games and we're all swinging the bat pretty impressive. It's fun to watch and good to be a part of.
"As a team, every time we go up it feels like we have good at-bats, up and down the order. Everyone's got good power, able to drive the ball in the gaps. It's a team effort and everybody's swinging the bat well."
Pohl also homered and scored three times, while Rashun Dixon and Bobby Crocker each drove in a pair of runs. Russell also scored three runs for the Ports, who have won four in a row and trail Visalia by two games in the race for a California League Wild Card berth.
Jonathan Raymond is a contributor to MiLB.com.