Inland Empire's Raben tallies six RBIs

Angels prospect continues torrid August with home run, four hits

Dennis Raben started the season in an independent league and signed with the Angels on April 27. (Inland Empire 66ers)

By Josh Jackson / | August 15, 2014 3:23 AM ET

Dennis Raben has added another red-hot performance to his scorching August.

The Angels infield prospect went 4-for-6 with a home run, six RBIs and a stolen base in Class A Advanced Inland Empire's 12-9 win over visiting Lake Elsinore on Thursday.

"I got up in good opportunities to hit," Raben said. "I had runners in scoring position in the first. I had a runner on for the home run and then I had the bases loaded."

Through 12 games this month, Raben is hitting a California League-best .511 (23-for-45) with seven homers -- he had four in a three-game stretch from Aug. 4-7 -- and 24 RBIs.

"It's been fun," said the 27-year-old first baseman. "My swing's been feeling really good lately, the whole second half really. I've seeing the ball well, seeing it early and recognizing [pitches] early."

The left-handed hitter put the 66ers on the board by plating Sherman Johnson and Chad Hinshaw with an opposite-field single in the first inning.

"It's always nice to get off to a good start," Raben said. "[The Storm] put a three-spot up in the first inning and we came back. I was able to hit that single and get two RBIs in that first at-bat."

He singled in the third and flied out to center field in the fourth, but he made waves again in the sixth. Facing Lake Elsinore starter Bryan Rodriguez for a fourth time, he stepped in with two outs and Johnson on third base.

"They'd kind of pitched around me the last couple days," Raben said. "I wasn't sure they'd come at me at all, but they did. The first four pitches were all fastballs, and I even extended out of the zone a little bit and swung at a pitch I shouldn't have. Then he threw a slider, and I was able to recognize it early."

He had little doubt it would clear the right-field fence for his 24th dinger of the year.

"I hit it pretty good," the University of Miami product said. "Those offspeed pitches down in the zone tend to go a long way when you hit them well."

Raben came to the dish against Storm reliever Joe Church with one out and the bases loaded the next inning, but he felt no extra pressure with four RBIs already under his belt.

"I think you just get more confidence," he said. "With the bases loaded and less than two outs, he fell behind me, 2-0. I was just walking up there trying to get a ball in the air, at least get a sac fly or maybe drive something. But on 2-0, I was able to hit a line drive."

The hard-hit ball scooted into right to plate two more runs, put Hinshaw on third base and net Raben his third single of the night. He promptly stole second, which allowed Hinshaw to steal home on Lake Elsinore catcher Dane Phillips' throw.

Johnson went 3-for-3 with a triple, four runs scored and an RBI.

Angels reliever Mike Morin, rehabbing from a foot laceration, gave up a hit but struck out two in a scoreless ninth to earn the save.

Jeremy Baltz was 3-for-5 with two doubles, two RBIs and a run scored and ninth-ranked Padres prospect Jose Rondon was 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored for the Storm.

Josh Jackson is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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