Olt slugs two homers in one inning

Rangers prospect sparks eight-run ninth, Express comeback

By Josh Jackson / Special to MLB.com | June 16, 2013 7:58 PM ET

Mike Olt knows it's the little things that can make a big difference.

After making a minor tweak to his approach on Sunday, the Rangers No. 2 prospect ended up homering twice in the ninth inning as Triple-A Round Rock scored eight times and rallied for a 9-4 victory at Oklahoma City.

Olt was 0-for-3 heading to the ninth and was not satisfied with his previous at-bats.

"I wasn't pulling the trigger in my swing on a few pitches early in the game," he said, "so I made a little adjustment."

Facing Jose Valdez to open the ninth, Olt took a strike, then battled to a 2-2 count. He smacked the sixth pitch over the left-field wall.

After struggling earlier, "I was able to recognize pitches early and made a small change to my swing," Olt said, "and it worked out for me."

By the time he came back to the plate, the Express had scored five more runs, with Robinson Chirinos doubling to chase Valdez. Olt greeted Philip Humber by swatting an opposite-field homer.

"I've never done that," he said of hitting two homers in an inning.

Even in Little League?

"No, no, I think I would have remembered."

The 2010 first-round pick struggled through April in the Pacific Coast League and the Rangers placed him on the disabled list after he said he'd been having vision problems since Spring Training. He spent most of May visiting specialists and undergoing tests, and it was eventually determined that his right tear duct was failing to produce moisture. Olt believes the problem is the result of a concussion he sustained after being hit in the head in the Dominican Winter League, but it had a simple solution.

He was prescribed an eye drop and immediately could see better. He homered in his first game back with Double-A Frisco, where he led the Texas League with 28 longballs a year ago.

After three games and three extra-base hits with the RoughRiders, Olt returned to Triple-A.

"It's definitely a different step. In Double-A, you can get away with having a good plan at the plate," he said. "In Triple-A, you still need a good approach, a good plan, but you have to understand the game a little better. You have to be able to realize certain situations are going on."

Since rejoining Round Rock on June 3, Olt has put together four multi-hit games and has seven extra-base hits -- including five homers -- while posting a .333 on-base percentage. He's had two 0-for-7 stretches, and while his PCL average has climbed 46 points to .185, he's averaged a strikeout per game in his return.

"It's mostly been about getting my timing back. It's a different struggle than I had at the beginning of the season," Olt said. "At the beginning of the season, I felt overmatched because I wasn't really seeing the ball well. Getting my timing back has been a little slow because you get a couple days off and your timing falls off again. But I feel like I'm slowly getting it back."

Jonathan Villar, the the Astros' No. 12 prospect, also homered twice for Oklahoma City, while top prospect Jonathan Singleton doubled twice in his Triple-A debut.

Asher Wojciechowski, ranked three spots behind Villar in the Houston system, struck out eight over six innings and gave up a run on four hits and two walks.

"We had some good at-bats against a really good pitcher," Olt said of Wojciechowski. "I felt like we were in the game the whole time. But still, when you're down three or four runs in the ... ninth, you're always thinking you're going to pull it off. But it doesn't usually end up on your side."

Josh Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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