Angelo Gumbs entered the New York-Penn League Finals opener without a homer in his previous 103 at-bats. On Monday night, he picked a good time to break out of his power slump.
Selected in the second round of last year's Draft, Gumbs hammered his first longball in almost two months to help the short-season Staten Island Yankees to a 9-2 victory over the Auburn Doubledays in the opening game of the best-of-3 series.
With the game tied, 1-1, and the bases empty in the fifth inning, the 18-year-old California native took Wirkin Estevez's offering over the wall in left-center field to give the Yankees a lead they would never relinquish.
The Baby Bombers' infield prospect has seen limited time in the playoffs. He ended the regular season batting .179 over the final 10 games, and he had just three at-bats in two appearances off the bench in the semifinals against the Brooklyn Cyclones.
He previously hit three homers in 58 Minor League games -- the last one came July 18 in a 12-4 rout of the Tri-City Valley Cats. He smacked a three-run shot off right-hander Joan Belliard.
Gumbs hit .264 with 29 RBIs in 51 games for Staten Island this year en route to helping the club win the McNamara Division with a 45-28 record.
In 2010, Gumbs batted .192 in seven appearances for the Yankees' Gulf Coast League affiliate.
On Monday, designated hitter Casey Stevenson was 3-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI and shortstop Cito Culver went 2-for-6 with a double and a run in the victory.
Wilton Rodriguez (1-0) allowed a run on two hits in an inning of relief to pick up the victory. Starter Taylor Morton surrendered one run on five hits and three walks while striking out two batters over 4 2/3 frames.
The Championship Series heads to Staten Island on Tuesday for Game 2 and, if necessary, Game 3 on Wednesday.