The Trenton Thunder's 10-game win streak has been a team effort. On Sunday, it was Brandon Laird's turn to do the heavy lifting.
Trenton pummeled visiting Binghamton Mets, 13-7, and Laird led the assault with two home runs -- one of which was a grand slam -- and a career-high seven RBIs.
"Everybody's playing good baseball," Laird said. "Everybody's contributing, and we're picking each other up. Everybody is doing their job."
With the Thunder down, in the fifth inning, 4-3, the 22-year-old third-base prospect smacked a three-run homer to left-center field. Upon contact, Laird expected it to clear the fence.
"I felt really good about that one. I just put a good swing on the ball," he said. "It was [a 2-2 count], and I got a fastball. That one was right down the middle of the plate."
His homer chased B-Mets starter Scott Shaw (4-2) from the game. Laird, though, was just getting warmed up. In the next inning, he came to bat against Binghamton's Clint Everts with two outs and the bases loaded.
"I battled in that at-bat," Laird said. "I fought some tough pitches off. [Everts] has a good curveball, but he just left it up that time.
"I put a pretty good swing on it, and I hit it high, and then I saw it as it got over."
Laird's career-high seven RBIs come after he knocked in four against Akron on May 3, and he last had a multi-homer game on July 12, 2008 in the South Atlantic League.
The roundtrippers helped Trenton to its longest winning streak since becoming a Yankees affiliate in 2002. The Thunder had a 13-game winning streak as a Red Sox affiliate in 1996.
"It's exciting," said Laird. "The pitchers are pitching well and the hitters are hitting well."
After winning consecutive Eastern League titles in 2007 and '08, the Thunder missed the playoffs last year, finishing below .500.
"We're a close team. We have a lot of guys who've played a lot together coming up through the Minors. We're playing some great ball right now, and if we keep playing like this, we'll be able to think about the playoffs," Laird said.
The win moved the Thunder within 2.5 games of first place in the Eastern League Eastern Division.