Gordon fills hero role for Lookouts

Twins top prospect follows tough Opening Night with walk-off hit

Nick Gordon is mobbed by his teammates after coming through in the clutch in the 10th inning. (Brian McLeod/MiLB.com)

By Michael Leboff / MiLB.com | April 7, 2017 11:59 PM ET

Game one of Nick Gordon's Double-A career ended with an 0-for-4 stat line. Game two ended with him on the receiving end of a Gatorade shower. 

The Twins' top prospect delivered a walk-off single in the 10th inning to cap a three-hit, two-RBI performance Friday night as Chattanooga topped Mobile, 4-3, at AT&T Field.

"I might have [gone] 0-for-4 last night, but I hit three balls hard. Even when I struck out, I saw the ball well," Gordon said. "I had some really good at-bats and knew there was nothing wrong with my swing, so I knew the hits were coming if I didn't press tonight."


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Gordon led off the bottom of the first with a base hit to center field. After flying out to left in the third, the 2014 first-round pick ripped a single up the middle in the bottom of the sixth. With his team trailing, 3-2, in the seventh, Gordon made a productive out by plating Jonathan Rodriguez with a sacrifice fly. 

"I've only been here for two days, but you can already see the maturity in these guys," the Florida native said of making the jump to Double-A. "It's something you see as you climb the ladder, but I've already learned a lot in the short time I've been with Chattanooga. I'm just trying to stay consistent and know what I need to do to be successful. Even though I had a good season, you're always going to go through bumps in the road and that's what teaches you the most about doing things the right way and sticking with your routine."

After Tanner English started the bottom of the 10th with a double, Gordon got ahead of BayBears reliever Eric Karch and sent a 2-0 fastball right back up the middle to give Chattanooga its first win of the season. 

"All I was thinking about was getting the job done," MLB.com's No. 48 overall prospect said. "He fell behind and I was thinking, 'Just hit something hard' because I had Tanner on second base and I knew that if I got a base hit, he was going to score. So I just got something over the middle that I could drive right back up the middle."

Gordon appeared in 116 games for Class A Advanced Fort Myers last season and produced a .291/.335/.386 slash line with three homers, 52 RBIs and 19 stolen bases. The 21-year-old shortstop followed up his All-Star season with an impressive showing in the Arizona Fall League, where he batted .346/.418/.444 in 21 games and was named to the All-Prospect Team.

In addition to trying to continue to grow as a hitter, Gordon said he's focused on forming one of the best double-play tandems in the Minors with second baseman Engelb Vielma, who's widely considered to be one of the best fielders in the organization. 

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"You learn a lot from a guy like [Vielma]. He can play anywhere on the field and is mature beyond his years on the defensive side of the game," Gordon said. "To be able to watch him and take ground balls with him, there's a lot of stuff I pick up on watching him. And it's the same with me -- he'll come up to me and say, 'I like what you did there.' Even though we've only had a couple of games together, we're definitely learning and building off one another."

English went 2-for-3 with a double, a walk and a run scored. 

John Curtiss (1-0) worked around two walks and struck out a batter in a scoreless 10th to get the win.

Michael Leboff is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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