Armed with lessions learned from playing four games with two-time American League MVP Mike Trout, Matt Thaiss was able to come through in the clutch during his sleep-deprived debut with Double-A Mobile on Tuesday.
One night later, the Angels' second-ranked prospect kept his foot on the throttle.
Thaiss contributed three singles and an RBI as the BayBears scored six times in the ninth inning en route to a 11-5 victory over Birmingham on Wednesday at Regions Field. The 16th overall pick in last year's Draft knocked in Mobile's only run against No. 12 White Sox prospect Spencer Adams on Tuesday and is 4-for-8 since moving up to the Southern League.
Gameday box score
"It's been crazy, being on California time -- where we're two hours behind from Mobile -- made for a long day yesterday without much sleep and a few flights," Thaiss said. "I got to the clubhouse about an hour and a half before game time yesterday, but just to be here is awesome and I look forward to playing hard here and continuing what we've been doing."
Prior to his promotion Monday night, the University of Virginia product hit .256/.353/.399 with eight homers and 48 RBIs with Class A Advanced Inland Empire. He recorded his first Double-A steal on Wednesday after being successful on four of seven attempts in 84 games with the 66ers.
"There's a bit of a velocity jump from High-A to this league and guys know how to pitch in counts," Thaiss said. "So I'm just going up there and trying to keep it as simple as possible. I can control that by being on time, so that's been my focus these first few days."
The 22-year-old was in the lineup with Trout for his final games in the California League, and he called it a great experience to learn from the six-time All-Star's approach at the plate. And he took with him a lesson based on the memory of a near-double play.
"I think the biggest thing for all of us was watching the way he went about the game and how hard he plays," Thaiss said. "We were in the seventh inning of a game where we were up nine or 10 runs and he busted down the line to beat out a double-play ball. If a guy like that does it 100 percent of the time, then we all should."
Video: Thaiss' RBI single for Mobile
Thaiss was in the thick of things as the BayBears strung together four singles to open the game against rehabbing big leaguer Miguel Gonzalez. Following Angels No. 13 prospect Michael Hermosillo's leadoff hit and 17th stolen base, the lefty-swinging Thaiss smacked an opposite-field hit to score the run. He came home on a single up the middle by Sherman Johnson.
Gonzalez settled down to strike out the side in the second, getting the New Jersey native to go down swinging in an eight-pitch battle to end the frame. Starting the fifth against the right-hander, Thaiss pulled the first pitch for a single to right before swiping second and scoring on a double by Jose Briceno.
"It just happened to be a good pitch that I saw that at-bat. Earlier in the game, I saw some pitches from him that I missed and fouled back," he said. "Going into that third at-bat, I was just trying to make sure I didn't miss my pitch again and it just so happened that I got around on the first pitch."
Facing reliever Tanner Banks to start the seventh, Thaiss lined a base hit up the middle but was erased on David Fletcher's double play.
The Barons wanted no part of Thaiss in a six-run ninth, intentionally walking the first baseman to load the bases after Hermosillo's RBI double to left-center. Johnson foiled the strategy by delivering a two-run double to left.
Johnson went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored, while Briceno homered on a four-RBI night. Brendon Sanger doubled twice and drove in a pair of runs for Mobile.
Making his first appearance since landing on the disabled list in mid-June with shoulder inflammation, Gonzalez was charged with five runs on seven hits while fanning five over 4 1/3 innings. Courtney Hawkins homered, doubled and drove in three runs for the Barons.