Knowing luck had been on his side in the midst of the Minors' longest current hit streak, Jahmai Jones knew not to waste any time when he knocked a mighty dribbler up the third-base line in his second at-bat Thursday.
"Part of hitting well is luck," the Angels' second-ranked prospect said. "Everybody has a little bit of luck here and there when you got a little bit of a streak going."
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Jones parlayed the "good old swinging bunt" into an infield single to extend his run to 20 straight games in Class A Advanced Inland Empire's 4-2 victory over Lake Elsinore at The Diamond.
"To look up after and know that I'd gotten to 20 is something pretty special, but honestly, I didn't even recognize it," the 20-year-old said. "The biggest thing I'm focusing on right now is just trying to win these games."
Jones added another single in the sixth and is batting .345 with six extra-base hits, 16 runs scored and nine RBIs during the streak. He hit .272/.338/.425 with nine homers and 30 RBIs over 86 games with Class A Burlington before getting the bump to the California League on July 20.
"I knew that once I got here I'd need to do my job for this team," Jones said. "Try and get on base as much as I can so the guys behind me can knock me in and we can score runs."
The second-round pick in 2015 has collected a hit in all but one of the 27 games he's played in for Inland Empire, batting .342/.390/.509 with eight doubles, three homers, 12 RBIs and eight stolen bases.
"I knew that we're playing for something bigger than just stats alone," Jones said. "It's been a mental change. It hasn't really been mechanical at all. Not trying to get too big, not trying to do something that's not within my powers and within my control. Just trying to do everything I can to maybe get on base that one time that we need it."
After leading off the game with a swinging strikeout, the Georgia native found himself in a 2-2 count against Lake Elsinore starter Jesse Scholtens with two outs in the third. He fought the pitch off and sent a slow roller to the right of the pitcher.
"You don't hit them all hard. But I was lucky enough that I placed it in a good spot," Jones said. "I was just trying to stay alive and foul off a pitch and it happened to fall in play. I didn't even look twice and just continued to run down the line. Thankfully, it stayed fair and no one made a play on it."
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Jones then swiped second and crossed the plate on a wild pitch that got away from Lake Elsinore catcher Wilfri De La Cruz and bounced toward the Inland Empire dugout.
Following Brandon Diaz's walk to start the sixth, Jones slapped a grounder back through the middle for his second hit and later scored on Jared Walsh's three-run double to center. Jones popped out to third in his final at-bat to lead off the eighth.