In baseball, the world can look like a much different place at the end of the ninth inning than it did at the first pitch. Such was Friday's wild ride for Daniel Robertson and the Oakland Athletics organization.
Robertson, the A's newly minted top prospect, homered and drove in a career-high six runs as Class A Advanced Stockton pounded San Jose, 17-6.
"Tonight was a crazy, crazy night," Robertson said after Friday's win. "Fourth of July, the whole trade thing, and the way we came out and played and hit the ball around was pretty special."
The "whole trade thing" drastically altered the landscape of the A's system when Oakland agreed to send shortstop Addison Russell, its former top prospect, outfielder Billy McKinney and right-hander Dan Straily to the Cubs for Major League starting pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel.
Robertson entered Friday night as teammates with McKinney, who was informed prior to the game that he would not be in the lineup. A few innings into the contest, word spread that a trade was in the works.
"It was weird," Robertson said. "That's one word to describe it. It's weird, but it's the business. It's baseball, and I wish those guys the best of luck. They're great ballplayers. I expect them to do what they've been doing."
With McKinney in the dugout in street clothes, his former teammates went to work in a big way. Robertson doubled and scored in the first inning and brought home a run with a sacrifice fly in the second.
Stockton erupted for 15 runs between the fifth and sixth to put the game well out of reach. In the fifth, Robertson singled home a pair of runs, then capped his night an inning later.
"[The trade] probably kept our mind off of hitting and we went up there hacking," he said. "Joking aside, honestly, I went up to the plate for one of my at-bats and heard the catcher and umpire talking that there was a big trade that just went down. I was like, 'Yeah, honestly, I'm shocked. I don't even know how I'm going to hit right now.' And I ended up hitting a home run, which actually was kind of funny."
The three-run shot gave Robertson his final RBIs. The 20-year-old shortstop lifted his average to .302 and jumped to the top of MLB.com's prospect list in the A's system.
"It crosses your mind," he said, "but I've always told myself, 'Just go out and play. Do what you love to do and have fun doing it. Whatever happens along the road happens.' I can't control whatever happens. If Addison was still in the system -- and we moved up together -- and I moved to a different position or whatever, you really can't control what happens. I've always told myself to go out, play hard, do what I love to do, and that's just how I went about my business."
Stockton went 8-for-13 with runners in scoring position, and every member of the lineup had at least one hit. Robertson, Bobby Crocker and Ryan Gorton led the way with three apiece.
"I love being in the one- or two-hole, igniting this lineup, getting things going at the top of the lineup and scoring a lot of runs for the big bats behind me," Robertson said. "That's what I love doing. That's what I've loved doing all season."
The run support made for an easy night for Stockton starter Jake Sanchez (2-0), who gave up six runs -- four earned -- on eight hits and a walk while striking out five in seven innings.
San Jose's Chris Stratton (5-8) -- the Giants' seventh-ranked prospect -- surrendered seven runs on six hits and four walks with three strikeouts over 4 1/3 frames.