Jordan Patterson didn't look like his old self for the first couple of months of 2017. But that's precisely when he began working his way back.
Colorado's No. 15 prospect continued his resurgence with his second multi-homer game in three weeks and tied a season high with five RBIs to lead Triple-A Albuquerque to an 8-4 win over Las Vegas on Thursday.
Patterson helped the Isotopes rally from a 1-0 deficit in the first inning. Albuquerque evened the score in the second on an RBI groundout by Cristhian Adames before putting together a five-run third keyed by Patterson's one-out grand slam to right field off Las Vegas starter Mitch Atkins (2-2).
Gameday box score
"We had a lot of guys put some good at-bats together before me," Patterson said. "With runners in scoring position and less than two outs, one thing that I've been working on is not to change my approach. Nothing changes whether there's nobody on or somebody on. [Isotopes manager Glenallen Hill] and our hitting coach, Darin Everson, have really helped me with that to almost imagine there's nobody on so that the situation never gets too big for you.
"[Atkins] threw me a first-pitch breaking ball for a ball that was close, and then he gave me a fastball that I could handle. I got it up, and thankfully, it went out."
Video: Albuquerque's Patterson belts grand slam
After Mike Tauchman lined an RBI single in the sixth, Patterson went deep with a two-out solo shot to right-center for Albuquerque's final tally. The 25-year-old has hits in 10 of his last 11 games, long balls in three of his last four and back-to-back three-hit performances.
Since June 1, Patterson sports a .356/.412/.644 slash line in 25 games, a marked improvement from the .219/.302/.444 line over his first 47 games of the year.
"It's been a progression," the Mobile, Alabama native said. "Mechanically, there were a few things with my swing where I wasn't feeling myself. I was getting long and kind of spinning, and I wasn't feeling comfortable in the box really. I was swinging at bad pitches and getting in bad counts and being pretty pitchable which, when it's that way, it's never a good feeling.
"It kind of hit rock bottom and got to a point where I had to make a change mechanically. I made a small adjustment, and I've kind of gradually been going with that small adjustment, rolling from there, and it's ended up working out. I've been putting better at-bats together, just having more quality at-bats. Regardless of the results, I've just been having better at-bats."
Patterson took more walks in April (12) than he did in May and June combined (11), but has turned his bat loose in a manner that resembles the productive profile he's shown throughout his five-year career. His eight homers since the start of June equal his total from April and May combined, and his 30 RBIs are one fewer than in the season's first two months.
"I'm just really swinging at good pitches and staying within myself and not trying to do too much," the 6-foot-4, 215-pound infielder said. "I'm taking a nice, easy swing, staying with my approach. I got a couple good pitches tonight and got them up in the air and hit them out. It was a good night just to swing at some good pitches and get some good results."
Patterson has been aided by a productive lineup. The Isotopes offense stands third in the Pacific Coast League with a .291 team average through 90 games, aided by budding stars such as Colorado's No. 4 prospect Ryan McMahon, who went 1-for-5 and is batting .383/.412/.660 through his first 33 Triple-A games.
"It's always good when you see guys before you putting together good at-bats," Patterson said. "It gives you confidence before you even step in the box. You see them putting together good at-bats and you're like, 'OK, they're comfortable. I'm going to be comfortable.'"
The cozier Patterson sports a six-game hitting streak.
"Confidence in baseball is the biggest thing," the University of South Alabama product said. "If you're not confident in the box, you're no good. That's more than half the battle, just being confident whether you feel good nor not. That's kind of what I've gotten to. Whether my swing feels good that day or not, I'm a hitter. I know I can hit, so whatever I've got that day, I've got to get in the box and battle and try to help my team win.
"Obviously, I have some confidence because my swing feels good. I've had some pretty good results and good at-bats, so for me it's just having a good at-bat and really focusing on that."