Tommy Manzella may not know how to hit home runs, but he got some advice from someone who did.
Manzella homered leading off the bottom of the eighth inning Tuesday to become the third Minor Leaguer to hit for the cycle this season as the Oklahoma City RedHawks topped the Tacoma Rainiers, 10-5.
One night after ending an 0-for-13 funk, Manzella doubled in the second inning off starter Chris Seddon. With one out in the fourth, he tripled home Robinson Cancel. And two innings later, he delivered an RBI single to give the RedHawks a 6-3 cushion and set up his dramatic final at-bat.
"My first at-bat, I just kind of saw a couple of pitches and got my timing down," Manzella said. "After that, I felt pretty comfortable and got the pitches in the middle of the plate, which is something I've been struggling with -- not exactly chasing pitches but not swinging at my pitches."
Facing reliever Edward Paredes in the eighth, Manzella sent a 1-1 pitch over the left-field wall.
"There were a couple of guys in the dugout [who] were getting on me to swing for the fence," he said. "I haven't hit that many and I don't know how to even try and hit one.
"I think the first pitch I tried to get the head of the bat out and was late getting my foot down, so I went back to keeping it simple. I was able to get a changeup and get it on the right trajectory, and it went out."
Selected by the Astros in the third round of the 2005 Draft, Manzella is batting .274 with 17 RBIs in 30 Pacific Coast League games. He is not known for his power, slugging a career-high nine homers for Triple-Round Rock in 2009.
Manzella said that got some key advice in the dugout from Astros legend Jeff Bagwell, a special assistant to general manager Ed Wade.
"Jeff Bagwell was in the dugout and was joking with me. He told me to swing for the fence, and I said 'I don't even know how to do that,'" Manzella said. "He said, 'Just put your best swing on it and lock in on one pitch.' Lucky enough, I got that one pitch."
While Manzella has played 90 games in the Major Leagues, Tuesday was a career highlight.
"I've never had a night like this, where it all came together at once," he said. "I feel blessed to have a perfect storm of events to have four good at-bats and have the correct results on all four at-bats. You just put together good at-bats and hopefully they find their holes."
Anderson Hernandez added a solo homer and scored three runs, while Brandon Barnes also crossed the plate three times.