Alberto Mineo entered Wednesday's game on a six-game hitting streak, but even he couldn't have envisioned what he would do to extend that run to seven games.
The 24-year-old Blue Jays catching prospect went 4-for-4 with a home run and five RBIs in Double A New Hampshire's 9-3 win over Reading at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium. He finished a triple shy of the cycle and set a new career high with eight total bases in the monster performance.
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"I was just trying to keep calm, see the ball and get a good pitch to hit in all of my at-bats," Mineo said.
The Italy native opened the scoring in the bottom of the second inning after running the count to 3-1 with nobody on base against Fightin Phils left-hander Bailey Falter (3-2), pulling the fifth pitch of the at-bat over the right-field fence for his third home run of the season.
"I was just looking for a fastball and trying to lay off anything else," Mineo said. "Look for a fastball up and try to hit it as hard as I could."
With the game tied 1-1 in the fourth, Mineo stepped to the plate with Brock Lundquist on first and doubled to center -- again on the fifth pitch of the at-bat -- to score Lundqust and put the Fisher Cats back on top, 2-1, as part of a three-run frame. He fell behind in the count in his next at-bat in the sixth, but hit a 1-2 pitch up the middle to again score Lundquist and extend the lead to 5-1 while knocking Falter out of the game.
A triple shy of the cycle, Mineo -- who entered the content with nine triples in eight Minor League seasons -- attacked the first pitch he saw in the seventh from southpaw reliever Aaron Brown and ripped a two-run single to center, scoring Forrest Wall and Blue Jays No. 29 prospect Santiago Espinal to give New Hampshire an 8-1 lead.
"They started throwing more breaking balls, so I was trying to lay off those, get a good pitch and elevate a higher pitch and get the job done," Mineo said.
The left-handed-hitting catcher has actually been more effective against left-handed pitching over the past two seasons. He hit .351/.432/.377 against southpaws in 2017 compared to his .257/.358/.353 batting line against right-handers for Class A South Bend before posting a .382/.405/.618 line against left-handers in 37 plate appearances last season at Class A Advanced Dunedin, in comparison to his .276/.372/.362 line against righties.
"With lefties, I'm always trying not to fly open and stay through the middle and let the pitch get deep," Mineo said.
2019 MiLB include
Mineo's four hits and five RBIs matched his previous career highs; he had two prior four-hit games -- one in each of the past two seasons -- and a five-RBI performance on April 9, 2017, for South Bend against West Michigan.
While the 5-foot-10, 170-pound backstop was the offensive star for New Hampshire on Wednesday, right-hander Patrick Murphy, Toronto's No. 17 prospect, was equally as impressive on the mound.
Murphy (2-4) allowed one run on three hits and one walk and struck out a career-high 10 batters, continuing the momentum he built during his last start on May 9, when he held Portland to one hit over seven scoreless innings.
"He's a great pitcher; he's got a power fastball and two other power pitches, a curveball and changeup, and he had all of them today," Mineo said. "We had a good plan coming into the game; we know the other team so we were able to plan before the game. Patrick was just executing all the pitches today."
Sixth-ranked Blue Jays prospect Kevin Smith went 2-for-4 with his third home run of the season and drove in three of the other four runs for the Fisher Cats. Lundquist finished 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored.
Falter allowed five runs on eight hits and struck out five over 5 1/3 innings.