Travs' Pizzano homers twice, plates six

Mariners prospect matches career high in run production

Dario Pizzano is hitting .306 with 11 RBIs and a .937 OPS in 10 games in May. (Joshu Tjiong/MiLB.com)

By Chris Bumbaca / MiLB.com | May 20, 2018 8:14 PM

Self-admittedly, Dario Pizzano has a good memory.

So when he was asked if he can remember the last time he plated six runs in a game, the Mariners prospect came up with the year (2015), the team he played for (Double-A Jackson) and the opponent (Montgomery) with relative ease. 

Nearly three years later, Pizzano accomplished the feat again, going 3-for-4 with two homers and a walk in Double-A Arkansas' 11-9, 13-inning win over Tulsa on Sunday at ONEOK Field.

Video: Pizzano drills three-run homer for Arkansas

"Honestly, the last week I've felt locked in," he said. "You know how baseball goes. I just felt like luck wasn't on my side. I've been lining out a lot. They've been making a couple of diving plays on me. I was just trying to stay consistent in that approach and not focus on the results of not getting as many hits, just focus on the fact I was hitting the ball hard. ... It worked today." 

Hitting cleanup, Pizzano came up in the first with Mariners No. 5 prospect Braden Bishop on first after a walk. The 27-year-old turned on an 0-1 offering from Drillers starter Michael Johnson and sent the ball over the right-field fence for the first of his two homers.

Pizzano has known Johnson since high school and the two have faced each other for almost a decade, squaring off in Ivy League play -- Johnson attended Dartmouth and Pizzano is a Columbia product. 


Gameday box score


"I've faced him in the Minor Leagues, too," Pizzano said. "I have a pretty good idea of what he's trying to do. He tries to throw the fastball in and spike the curveball away. I turned on the fastball. I was looking middle-in and I got what I was looking for." 

Pizzano walked in the third before lining to third base in the fifth. With two outs in the seventh, the 2012 fifth-round pick faced an 0-1 count and smoked a three-run homer to right off left-handed reliever Chad Girodo

"The first pitch he threw was a frontdoor slider; I took it. So I thought he was going to come back with it again, and he did and I was sitting on it and I guessed right," Pizzano said. "Usually, when you're in that zone, it's not even a full guess. It's an educated anticipation of a pitch and it seems like you're right every time. Today, I had a pretty good idea of what they were going to do. They were throwing the pitches that I was looking for." 

In the 10th, the Boston native went the other way and sent a single to left. With one out in the 12th and runners on the corners, Pizzano lifted a sacrifice fly to center to give the Travelers a lead they surrendered before securing the win on an afternoon that felt like a marathon. 

"These games, they tend to happen," the 5-foot-11, 200-pound prospect said. "That's baseball. You just have to grind mentally, can't get too up or too down. If they're going to put a run up on the board, you got to do what you can to fight and try to stop them as much as you can." 

Pizzano was on a 10-for-22 tear in April before landing on the disabled list with an oblique strain. He missed about three weeks but stood in the box during his teammates' bullpen sessions to hold on to some element of his timing. 

"I was pretty discouraged about that, thinking like, right as I was getting hot, I'd have to miss some time," Pizzano said.  

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But the left-handed hitter got three hits in his first game back on May 10 and is hitting .284 with a .845 OPS. 

Obviously, Sunday evoked memories of 2015 for Pizzano, who said he took a significant step forward that season, posting a .308/.366/.457 slash line in 58 games for the Generals when club was a Seattle affiliate. 

"Three years [ago] and I was at the same level," he said. "That's funny, isn't it?

"That year was a pretty good year for me. I was locked in pretty much the whole year. I feel really good right now up at the dish." 

Dodgers No. 6 prospect DJ Peters went 2-for-6 with two RBIs and a run scored, while Tyler Colvin singled four times for Tulsa. 

Chris Bumbaca is a contributor for MiLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter @BOOMbaca. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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