Kris Negron came within inches -- and a revised ground rule -- of hitting for the cycle Friday night.
The 22-year-old second baseman went 5-for-5 with a pair of homers and five RBIs, leading the Lancaster JetHawks to a 9-0 rout of the Bakersfield Blaze at Sam Lynn Ballpark.
The hits, homers and RBIs were all career highs for Negron, who has thrived since he was assigned to the California League at the end of July.
"It's all kind of a blur," he said. "I don't know what happened. I was just trying to put the ball in play."
Negron reached on a bunt single in the first inning, belted a solo homer in the third, ripped an RBI triple in the fifth and singled again in the seventh. Needing a double for the cycle, he hit a three-run homer to right field in the ninth.
The ball bounced off a fence beyond the outfield wall and, under last year's ground rules, would have been a double; this year, it's a home run.
"I knew I needed a double for the cycle," he said. "When I hit it, I told the ball to get down and hit the wall, but I guess I'll have to settle for the homer."
Boston's seventh-round pick in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, Negron is batting .381 with seven homers and 19 RBIs in 23 games since he was promoted from Class A Greenville of the South Atlantic League. He has hit in 17 of 23 games with the JetHawks (36-24) and is 14-for-23 (.608) in his last five contests.
The surge, the California native said, has to do with location; more specifically, relocation.
"This enabled me to get back to my friends and family," Negron explained. "None of them ever had a chance to see me play pro ball when I was in Greenville, so getting back here really rejuvenated me. It's good to me home."
Friday also was a good night for Felix Doubront (1-0), who struck out nine over five scoreless frames in his Lancaster debut. He allowed three hits and a walk after going 12-8 with a 3.67 ERA in 23 starts at Greenville.
Starter Glenn Swanson (1-4) surrendered six runs on seven hits, striking out five without a walk, over five innings for Bakersfield (24-37).