Drillers' Diaz homers on four-hit night

Dodgers No. 4 prospect drives in three runs, steals a base

Yusniel Diaz is 10-for-25 (.400) with two homers and five RBIs in his last six games. (Matt Christensen/Tulsa Drillers)

By Marisa Ingemi / MiLB.com | July 8, 2018 10:58 PM

It's hard to pinpoint a bad game from Yusniel Diaz this year.

The Dodgers' fourth-ranked prospect collected a season-high four hits, including his sixth homer, and drove in three runs as Double-A Tulsa pulled away for a 10-5 victory over Frisco at ONEOK Field.

Video: Yusniel Diaz goes deep

"It's more of the same of what he's been doing," Drillers manager Scott Hennessey said. "He's been working hard in the cage and working hard in batting practice trying to perfect his swing, just trying to put together good at-bats consistently. The work's paying off for him."

One night after he was held hitless for just the second time since June 19, Diaz produced his sixth career four-hit contest and first since Aug. 29

"That's what professional hitters do, and he's a professional hitter," Hennessey said. "He bounced back today and didn't let yesterday going hitless affect today. I'm proud of him for that."

Gameday box score

Diaz got going in the opening inning with a ground single to right field off starter Pedro Payano (3-7) that sent Luke Raley to third. Dodgers No. 9 prospect Will Smith followed with an RBI double, but Diaz was thrown out at the plate. After a groundout in the third, he lined another base to left in the fifth.

"Anytime you score early and get a lead early, it sets a tone," Hennessey said. "He got a huge hit and it got us going. He does that a lot."

The 21-year-old netted his third hit on another single to center in the sixth, plating 19th-ranked Errol Robinson. With Raley aboard in the eighth, Diaz sent a 1-0 pitch from left-hander Anthony Gose over the left field fence to give the Drillers a 10-5 lead.

It was Diaz's second homer in five games after failing to hit one out since going yard in back-to-back games on June 12-13.

"He stays in the middle of the field well," Hennessey said. "And when he stays in the middle of the field, that's what he is. He's a gap-to-gap hitter with power to the gaps and power to center field. For the most part all year, that's what he's done. He hasn't tried to pull balls or hook balls like last year. He's become a better hitter."

MiLB include

Diaz boosted his average to .301, which ranks 10th in the Texas League. It's never dipped below .287 and he has a .393/.469/.679 slash line in seven games in July.

"His swing has gotten better," Hennessey said. "He's worked really hard at staying square to the ball. He's a young guy, he's just now tapping into his power and learning to drive the ball."

The top third the Tulsa lineup contributed, with Robinson driving in four runs and Raley picking up three hits. Batting cleanup, Smith went yard for the second straight night and recorded his fifth consecutive two-RBI game.

Justin DeFratus (3-3) got the win after allowing three runs on four hits and a walk with two strikeouts in seven innings.

Leadoff man Eliezer Alvarez had three hits, including his fifth homer, and two RBIs for the RoughRiders.

Marisa Ingemi is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @Marisa_Ingemi. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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