Brian O'Grady and Christian Colon told each other Sunday was going to be fun. They were right.
Cincinnati first-base prospect O'Grady belted three solo home runs, after hitting six in his first 31 games this season, as Triple-A Louisville beat Buffalo, 7-3.
Video: Bats' O'Grady belts third home run
"I started off really well, and then I struggled the past week or something like that," said O'Grady, whose slash line dipped from .369/.462/.679 entering play on May 10 to .312/.409/.596 going into Sunday. "Me and Christian Colon, we talk a lot about hitting. We just were saying, it's going to be a good day. He's been struggling a little bit too, and we just kept saying, it's going to be a good day. It's going to be a good day for us. We're going to get back at it today."
For Colon, the afternoon started quickly with a single to shallow right field in the top of the first inning. It took one more at-bat for O'Grady.
"He got a nice little hit his first at-bat, and I flew out my first at-bat (a foul pop to shortstop Andrew Guillotte in the second)," O'Grady said. "When I came in, [Colon] said, 'You just look like you're waiting to see the ball instead of anticipating that it's going to be there and being ready to swing.' That was a big thing for me. I kind of found that my next at-bat, really anticipating that fastball is going to be there. Everything clicked after that."
Gameday box score
O'Grady hammered a 2-1 offering from right-hander Andrew Sopko in the fourth over the center-field wall. Two innings later, he crushed the first pitch Sopko offered out to left-center. Finally in the eighth, O'Grady worked the count full against righty Conor Fisk before sending his third shot of the game out to left.
"The first two were definitely fastballs," O'Grady said. "The third one may have been a little splitter or changeup, I'm not sure to be honest with you. I was just anticipating. My approach in general is to anticipate a fastball away. That kind of keeps me where I need to be. It's something I figured out last year when I made some changes, and it's worked for me since then. When [Colon] said that to me, it just reminded me of what I do and who I am. It just clicked again."
2019 Minor League milestones
The homers were O'Grady's first since May 2 and came as part of a 16-hit blitz from the Bats, including a 3-for-5 showing from Colon and 4-for-4 day from Aristides Aquino, who has hits in six straight at-bats.
"It was a fun day. I had the three home runs, but a lot of guys had good days at the plate. Aquino had four hits and Christian Colon had another three hits. We've got some guys who can hit for sure. We've just been kind of waiting for it to click. Today it seemed to come together, and it's always fun when you can do that and get a win."
The performance made O'Grady the seventh player in the history of the Louisville franchise -- and second this season -- to belt three in a game after Josh VanMeter on April 29.
2019 MiLB include
"My buddies actually sent the Bats' tweet to me on our group chat from home," he said. "That's pretty cool. My buddy [VanMeter] did it earlier this year too, so that's pretty cool. When I saw that, that's a lot of games played over those years and a lot of really good players who have come through. To be added to that list is definitely a really cool thing."
After going hitless in his previous three contests and having not logged a multi-hit game in his last seven, Sunday's monster showing pushed O'Grady's slash line back to .325/.416/.649, jumping his homer total to nine.
"I'm always confident in myself no matter what that I'm a threat to do something every time I'm up there, but when you go through those little lulls, it still stinks," he said. "It's not fun. but you've just got to remember, I've been through it before. You're going to come out of it. Today, it just so happened to be that I came out of it with three home runs."