Mark Canha returned to the Minor Leagues mindful of what he needed to fix and confident he could get the job done. More and more, it looks like he's figured things out.
Canha led the way on a potent offensive night for Triple-A Nashville, going 5-for-5 with two homers and four RBIs as the Sounds scored all of their runs in the first four innings of a 10-4 win over Las Vegas at First Tennessee Park.
Nashville grabbed the lead in the bottom of the first inning when top A's prospect Franklin Barreto hit a leadoff single to center field and No. 14 prospect Matt Olson followed with a two-run homer, his 20th, to right-center. Canha started the second with a spark, belting a leadoff shot to left-center to kick off a three-run frame.
Gameday box score
After singling to center in the third, Canha connected on a three-run blast to left-center as part of Nashville's five-run fourth. The first baseman doubled to left leading off the sixth and singled to right in the eighth for his second career five-hit night and first since July 21, 2013 with Double-A Jacksonville.
Video: Nashville's Canha belts second homer
Last month, in the midst of a 2-for-29 slump that included 18 strikeouts and no walks, Canha was sent back to Triple-A after his slash line dipped to .191/.234/.393 in 29 games.
"I'm a great player, but when I struggle, that's what happens, always: strikeouts," Canha told the San Francisco Chronicle on June 9. "The most frustrating part is I know how good a player I am. I think I see myself as a great player in this league and a top-notch bat in this league, potentially. I know the potential is there. I can feel how good I am, how talented I am, and it's frustrating I can't find myself in my at-bats. I know it's waiting to burst out of me. It hasn't happened yet for me, but I'm sure it will."
Video: Nashville's Canha rips fifth hit
Canha's strikeout numbers have been markedly improved in his time in the Minors. Entering Tuesday, the 28-year-old's strikeout rate at Triple-A was 21.4 percent this year, compared with 35.1 percent in the Majors.
"When he's in sync, he does a lot of damage, it doesn't matter who's out there," A's manager Bob Melvin told the newspaper. "There's a lot going on in his swing, so when he's out of sync, his timing gets a little off.
"There's no doubt we'll see him back here at some point in time."
Canha's five hits matched the Nashville franchise record most recently posted by Bruce Maxwell on July 17, 2016. In 21 games with the Sounds this month, Canha is batting .333/.360/.617 with four homers and 17 RBIs.
The Sounds pounded out 18 hits against a beleaguered 51s pitching staff. One of those was a two-out solo blast in the fourth by A's No. 22 prospect Renato Nunez, who leads the Minors with 26 homers.
Video: Nashville's Nunez cranks solo home run
Las Vegas pitchers have surrendered 92 runs in losing eight of their last nine games.
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A's right-hander Jharel Cotton went six scoreless innings in his second rehab start for Nashville. He struck out nine, walked one and yielded two hits as he works his way back from a blister on his pitching hand that landed him on the big league disabled list on July 8.
Mets No. 2 prospect Dominic Smith went 2-for-4 with a two-run double for the 51s.