Home runs are nothing new for Rhys Hoskins. Neither are multi-homer games, but Hoskins continues to prove that novelty is overrated.
The Phillies' No. 13 prospect homered twice Thursday in Triple-A Lehigh Valley's 10-8 loss to Rochester. The multi-homer game was his second of the season -- the first came April 15 in Pawtucket -- and the sixth of his four-year Minor League career.
Gameday box score
After flying out to center against left-hander Jason Wheeler to end the first inning, Hoskins came to the plate in the following frame with two outs and the bases loaded, the IronPigs having already scored three runs in the inning. He ran the count to 2-2 before taking a pitch right down the middle and depositing it on the other side of the left-field fence for a grand slam, which extended Lehigh Valley's early lead to 7-1.
Video: Lehigh Valley's Hoskins hits grand slam to left
The 2014 fifth-round pick walked in the fourth before taking southpaw Buddy Boshers deep on the first pitch he saw in the seventh for his 12th home run of the season, which tied him for the Minor League lead with four other players. Hoskins also retook the circuit RBI lead with 35, three more than teammate Dylan Cozens, who ranks third in the league with 11 long balls.
"I like to be a hitter first," Hoskins told MiLB.com. "I think I have always been more of a doubles guy, and I'm starting to learn how to tap into some power. I'm not trying to hit home runs, by any means. I am trying to drive the ball, and if it goes out, great. But nobody ever got into trouble for leading the league in doubles, either."
Hoskins, who has nine doubles and leads the International League with 21 extra-base hits, has a .343/.430/.709 batting line through 40 games in his first taste of Triple-A -- all three numbers would represent career highs for the 24-year-old first baseman if he continues at this pace.
Video: Lehigh Valley's Hoskins hits second homer of game
"I think the way the schedule has been configured, we've been able to see a couple arms two times in a row now," Hoskins told the site. "Obviously that helps the hitters out a lot, being a little more familiar with what the pitcher features. I think that has more to do with it than anything."
Twins No. 14 prospect Daniel Palka homered for the seventh time this season while 22nd-ranked farmhand Zack Granite drove in three for the Red Wings. Matt Hague was 3-for-5 with a homer and a double.
Mark Appel allowed seven runs on six hits and two walks while striking out two in 3 1/3 innings, watching his ERA rise to 6.69.
Wheeler (3-1) allowed seven runs of his own on eight hits and two walks, striking out six in five innings but earning the win thanks to his teammates' production at the plate.