Dustin Fowler needed the biggest hit of his day to make history. Given an extra chance to do it, he came through.
The Yankees' No. 8 prospect belted a walk-off home run to finish off his first career cycle and the first five-hit game of his career as Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre knocked off Indianapolis, 7-6, in 11 innings.
Video: Scranton/WB's Fowler completes cycle with walk-offSunday's career day was capped two strong weeks at the plate for Fowler, who has hits in 11 of his last 12 games. The 2013 18th-round pick got the toughest element out of the way in his initial trip to the plate when he tripled to right field with one out in the first inning. Two batters later, Fowler scored his first of two runs on Ji-Man Choi's single to center.
"I was able to get the day started with a triple, so that always helps out with getting your confidence level up," he said.
"I'm just trying to keep my mind-set as simple as possible and stay on the fastball, be as short as I can," Fowler said. "If I do get something offspeed, those are the pitches I'm able to pull and drive to the pull side of the field. The biggest thing is just staying on the fastball the last couple weeks. I'm really focusing on that, not getting too big, and it's starting to show right now. Hopefully, I can keep it going."
Fowler bounced out to third to lead off the third, then delivered an RBI double to right in the fifth. The outfielder added a leadoff single to center in the seventh and another double to right in the ninth, which he initially thought might have been a game-ending shot. While that one didn't get out, it proved crucial. The knock pushed Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's Tyler Wade to third, from where he later scored the game-tying run on a wild pitch by Indianapolis reliever Angel Sanchez to force extra innings.
After regulation, Fowler knew what was potentially at stake.
"It's hard not to have it cross your mind, but I did everything I could to stay relaxed and calm," he said. "I was just trying to put the barrel on the ball. Luckily, [Sanchez] was throwing pretty hard, so I was able to get a little extra thump to it and get it out." 2017 Minor League milestones
On a 2-0 count in the 11th, Fowler belted the right-hander's offering over the wall in right for his fourth homer of the season and the first cycle of his life at any level.
"It was a great feeling, a once-in-a-lifetime experience," he said. "It was great to have it and great to get a win for the team."
Over the course of his last 12 games, Fowler boosted his slash line from .125/.152/.344 to .293/.341/.573. It marked Fowler's seventh multi-hit showing of the year and his first game with more than two long balls.
The cycle was the first for a Scranton/Wilkes-Barre player since Ramon Flores on April 9, 2015 vs. Syracuse. The RailRiders have won four of their last five games and clinched the series win in Sunday's rubber game.
"All of us are starting to kind of play great together," Fowler said. "Everyone hits well, and then it just gets from batter to batter and makes things so much easier. We battled through the whole day. The last couple days, we've battled and gotten some big wins."