Bulls' Bauers busts slump with four hits

Tampa Bay's No. 4 prospect breaks out of 2-for-17 slide

Jake Bauers was acquired by Tampa Bay in a 2014 deal that sent All-Star Wil Myers to San Diego. (Chris Robertson/MiLB.com)

By Gerard Gilberto / MiLB.com | July 15, 2017 9:29 PM ET

Before joining the Tampa Bay organization in a trade, Jake Bauers remembers a lesson learned in the Midwest League in 2014 when the opposition put on a drastic infield shift against him. 

"I tried to change my approach up there and maybe bunt or try and slap the ball the other way, and it never worked," the Rays' No. 4 prospect said. "So after then, I just decided to maybe not worry about where guys are playing and just go do your thing."

Gameday box score

Bauers encountered the same setup on Saturday night and beat the shift again en route to a season-high four hits in Triple-A Durham's 4-0 win over Norfolk at Harbor Park. It was the fourth four-hit game in his five-year Minor League career. 

"I think it'll lock me back in," MLB.com's No. 62 overall prospect said. "My fifth at-bat tonight I probably hit the best ball I hit all night but it was caught ... but after that I knew I was seeing the ball well. I got back to where I needed to be, nice and simple and handsy, and hopefully we keep it going from here."

Entering Saturday, Bauers was mired in a 2-for-17 slump. With the breakout performance, the California native also matched his total for extra-base hits in July.

"I was kind of just searching a lot over the past couple weeks," Bauers said. "It was pretty much all just mental, just trying to do something new every night. I went back and looked at a little bit of video of myself and just decided to close off a little bit, think about using my hands and putting the ball in play."

Video: Bulls' Bauers racks up fourth hit

The California high school product is hitting .272 with eight homers, 44 RBIs and 54 runs scored through 83 games in his first season in Triple-A.  

With one out in the first against Tyler Wilson (2-6) and facing the shift, Bauers hit a grounder that was flagged down by second baseman Luis Sardinas in short right field for a single. 

"Once I hit it and saw where he was playing, I pretty much knew I was going to be able to beat it out," the 21-year-old said. "Once I started the night 1-for-1, obviously that's a pretty big boost. It kind of gave me a little bit of confidence going into the rest of my at-bats."

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Bauers followed Johnny Field's leadoff hit in the third with a bloop double just beyond the reach of third baseman Chris Johnson to put two runners in scoring position. After an RBI groundout by top Rays' prospect Willy Adames, Bauers was caught trying to steal third.

Facing Wilson in the fifth, Bauers drilled a one-out double to left and later scored on Patrick Leonard's single up the middle. Leading off the seventh against left-hander Paul Fry, Bauers snuck a grounder back up the middle for another single, but was erased when Adames bounced into a double play.

The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder's bid for his first five-hit was denied when he flied out to center in the ninth. 

Mike Marjama belted a two-run homer, while Rays No. 5 prospect Casey Gillaspie collected three singles for Durham.

Gerard Gilberto is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @GerardGilberto4. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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