Joc Pederson had three home runs through his first 52 games of the season heading into Sunday. So frankly, he would have been happy with any roundtrippers he would smash in Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga's July opener against High Desert.
So when the 20-year-old lifted a two-run shot in the second inning and then added another of the solo variety in the third, he had just one word on his mind.
"To be honest, I was talking with [fellow outfielder Leon Landry] the other day about how I never hit two bombs in a game ever," Pederson said. "So when I hit those two, all I could think was 'Whoa.'"
Little did he know what was still to come.
In the fourth inning, the Dodgers' No. 3 prospect took a 1-0 fastball deep to center field off Mavericks reliever Wes Alsup for his third home run in his third at-bat to cap the first multi-homer game of his two-year Minor League career in the Quakes' 17-4 win.
The feat marked the 15th time this season that a Minor Leaguer had stroked three homers in one game and the fifth time that a player in the California League had achieved the feat. The last Rancho Cucamonga player to do so was Gabe Jacobo on June 10, 2010 against High Desert when the Quakes were an Angels affiliate.
After going deep Saturday, Pederson has totaled four homers in his last two contests to give him six for the season. He had produced only 12 extra-base hits over those first 52 games and 204 at-bats for a slugging percentage of .382.
The reason behind the California native's lack of power was mostly mechanical, he believes.
"I've been losing my body posture this season," he said. "It's been something that caused me to hit a lot of ground balls. I've been trying to work it out, but it's not exactly something you're going to master overnight."
Four homers in two days would appear to be a sign that Pederson has put those posture issues to bed, and the 2010 11th-round pick, who missed three games last week with a right-foot injury, hopes that is indeed the case.
"I hope it wasn't luck," he said. "I think it's definitely a step in the right direction. You obviously want to keep improving as you go along. I mean, it's obviously been a bit of a struggle this year. But I definitely want to keep on working and get on the path where I can produce more and more. Still, baseball always has its ups and downs."
That doesn't mean Pederson can't enjoy his current ride, however. As for his next game Monday against the Mavericks, the Dodgers farmhand offered no called shots.
"I'm not worried about hitting any more tomorrow," he said. "All I think about is putting good swings on the ball, and then we'll see what happens from there. Wherever the ball goes, it goes."
Landry went 4-for-6 with a triple, four RBIs and two runs scored as the Quakes leadoff hitter. Designated hitter Bobby Coyle homered, scored four runs and drove in two on a 5-for-5 night at the plate.