It's taken a little while for Yankees infield prospect Ronnier Mustelier to warm up in the Northeast, but lately the Cuban second baseman has been coming up clutch with late power.
Mustelier homered for the third straight game Thursday, a go-ahead leadoff homer in the ninth inning as Double-A Trenton rallied past Portland, 9-7, to sweep a three-game series with the rival Red Sox affiliate.
Mustelier, who also hit a timely ninth-inning longball on April 30 to beat the Sea Dogs, connected off Portland reliever Josh Fields for his fourth homer of the year in the ninth after the Sea Dogs rallied for three runs in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game.
Cleanup hitter Cody Johnson made it back-to-back homers with his sixth of the year.
The homer in the ninth was Mustelier's only hit of the game, but he managed drive in three runs with an RBI grounder in the first and a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch in the sixth that forced home a run.
Mustelier is an interesting story in the Yankees' system -- he's 27 and in just his second season in the Minors after defecting from Cuba following the 2009 season. He hit .356 with three homers and 27 RBIs in 36 games last season, primarily with Class A Advanced Tampa, and has adjusted well to the Double-A Eastern League with Trenton -- he's averaging .340 this season.
The bulk of his power has come in the past week, though. Following the ninth-inning shot in Trenton's first game with Portland, the infielder connected again May 2 for a solo drive in the fourth inning of the Thunder's 4-3 win. He has three home runs and 11 RBIs in his last 10 games.
Portland knotted the game briefly in the eighth on Matt Spring's three-run homer, his second of the year, off Trenton's Michael Dubee. Dubee (1-0) ended up with the win after Ryan Flannery worked a scoreless ninth for his fourth save.
Juan Carlos Linares, Boston's No. 19-ranked prospect, hit a three-run homer in the fifth, his fifth, off Trenton starter Shaeffer Hall, who allowed four runs on eight hits over five frames.