For two years, Jabari Blash got to play in El Paso's Southwest University Park as a visitor with Triple-A Tacoma, soaking in one of the most passionate and unique environments in the Minor Leagues. Now in his second season as a member of the home team, he's providing prodigious power to the party.
Blash homered in his fourth straight game, singled and drove in two runs Wednesday as El Paso rallied late to sink his former team, the Rainiers, 9-6.
"Right now, I'm just seeing the ball well and putting some good swings on pitches up in the zone," Blash said of the power surge. "It's definitely been a good week, but for me, it's big to continue to work every day and get better at it."
Video: The Chihuahuas' Jabari Blash homers yet again
Blash went 12 games without hitting a homer from May 23-June 5, but the last 10 days have seen his swing come to life. The outfielder cranked two solo blasts on June 6 before starting his current streak three days later.
"You feel good, especially when you're taking really good swings and having good at-bats," he said. "For me, a lot of times I just try to put the ball in play hard and not try to get too big, continue to stay in this groove that I'm in. Right now, I'm really just focused on continuing to have good at-bats and put the ball hard in play."
Gameday box score
Blash's latest blast came in a big spot for his team. With the game tied, 3-3, he led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a homer to left-center, sparking a three-run outburst.
"I went up just trying to have a good at-bat," said Blash, who's driven in 10 runs over his last four games. "My at-bat before, I grounded out on a changeup. It was a pretty good pitch, but I was pretty mad at myself because I could've taken that pitch. I just wanted to see the ball a little later and not try to do too much and try to put a good swing on it. It's always good when you make hard contact, and it's a better feeling when the ball goes out."
El Paso took a 6-3 lead into the eighth, but Tacoma rallied for three runs. The Chihuahuas answered with a three-run inning of their own.
"Carlos Asuaje came up with two guys on base and was able to hit a really good ball pull-side to give us the lead," Blash said of the go-ahead three-run shot by the Padres' ninth-ranked prospect. "It was just one of those games where we've continued to play good baseball and come from behind at times. It's definitely been very good as a team. Right now, we're patient, but we're also very aggressive."
The win came before 6,474 and was El Paso's seventh in its last nine games behind a confident offensive group fueled by Blash.
"Nobody really wants to be the guy to let the team down," he said. "It's the PCL. It's El Paso. We're playing in a stadium with a ton of energy. The fans are so invested into the game, so that heightens everything a little bit. It's definitely been very fun. I've always had fun playing in El Paso."
Asuaje also singled and walked for the Chihuahuas.
Mariners No. 9 prospect D.J. Peterson went 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored for Tacoma, giving him a .347 batting average in June.