Tampa's Flores amasses five hits

Yankees outfield prospect hitting .625 over past three games

By David Heck / Special to MLB.com | May 2, 2012 9:20 PM ET

Three days ago, Ramon Flores was mired in a season-long slump, hitting just .185. So much for that.

The Yankees prospect has put together three straight multi-hit games, culminating in a career-high five-hit performance Wednesday as the Class A Advanced Tampa Yankees defeated the Brevard County Manatees, 3-2, in 11 innings.

The 20-year-old outfielder has now gone 10-for-16 over his past three games, good for a .625 average. The streak has raised his batting mark for the year to .258.

"I feel pretty good," Flores said through a translator after the team's first win in five games. "I'm coming out of a slump, and finally the team won."

Flores roped a single to center field in his first at-bat, then followed up with a single to right field in the third and a double to right in the fifth. His first at-bat with a runner in scoring position occurred in the seventh with Kelvin Castro on second. Flores came through, lining a single to center, but Castro was thrown out at home by Reggie Keen.

Flores next stepped to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, when the Yankees had runners on second and third and the game was tied, 2-2. He made his only out of the day in that at-bat, grounding out to first base to send the game into extra innings.

In the 11th, Flores did not miss his opportunity. After Castro smacked a one-out single, the native of the Dominican Republic blooped one over shortstop Nick Shaw's head to send Castro to second and keep the line moving.

"I was looking for the right pitch to hit, the pitch that I know I can handle, and I was able to hit it," Flores said. "It was a blooper, but a blooper is a hit."

Rob Segedin followed with a groundout that advanced the runners, and Jose Toussen recorded the game-winning single.

"The last couple innings we had a couple runners in scoring position and finally we were able to get it," Flores said. "We were pretty excited."

Acquired by the Yankees as a non-drafted free agent on July 4, 2008, Flores hit .265 with 11 homers in 125 games at Class A last year. Though his career average has only eclipsed the .300 mark at one level -- he hit .329 in 43 games for the GCL Yankees in 2010 -- he had twice recorded four-hit games before Wednesday's effort. He accomplished the feat on on July 28, 2010 for the GCL Yankees and again on April 13, 2011 for the Charleston RiverDogs.

Looking ahead, the former South Atlantic League All-Star said he just wants to continue his hot hitting and keep improving.

"My goal is to end the year in Double-A, but most importantly, just to get better day by day," Flores said.

David Heck is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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