Vargas drives in six to fuel New Britain rally

Twins' No. 16 prospect launches grand slam, falls triple short of cycle

Kennys Vargas has three grand slams and two six-RBI games in his six-year Minor League career. (Kevin Pataky/

By Mark Emery / | June 7, 2014 1:35 AM ET

Needing a triple for the cycle, Kennys Vargas was waiting in the on-deck circle when Nate Hanson grounded out to end the top of the ninth inning on Friday. But don't feel too bad for the big first baseman.

Vargas laughed at the notion of collecting a fourth career triple with an additional at-bat. Besides, he'd already accomplished so much at Binghamton.

After singling in the first, the Twins' 16th-ranked prospect belted a go-ahead grand slam in the sixth, then roped a two-RBI double in the seventh. He drove in all Double-A New Britain's runs in a 6-3 win over the Mets.

"It's pretty good for the numbers," Vargas said with a chuckle. "Six RBIs in one night, that's like a week."

The show he put on gave him three grand slams and two six-RBI games for his career. He also drove in six runs last July 27 with Class A Advanced Fort Myers.

With 43 RBIs in 56 games, the Puerto Rico native is tied for third in the Eastern League with Harrisburg's Michael Taylor. Vargas is batting .320/.397/.512 with nine homers.

The switch-hitter's latest roundtripper came on a 3-2 curveball with the bases full, nobody out and the Rock Cats trailing by two runs in the sixth inning. It was his first home run since May 18.

"I was looking for that pitch," Vargas said, "because they always throw me, in a 3-2 count, something like a changeup or a breaking ball."

In 61 at-bats with runners in scoring position, he's hitting .393/.458/.623 with 34 RBIs.

"I do the same approach with every at-bat, like with two strikes," Vargas said. "When I have two strikes, I try to get short with my swing and go straight to the ball. Don't do any movement, just put it in play, because I don't like the strikeouts."

While he's hoping to launch more homers, he's less concerned with grabbing a triple this season. His next one will be his first in 2014.

The 6-foot-5, 275-pound slugger said a three-bagger was nowhere near his focus Friday.

"I never think about triples," Vargas said. "I just get the doubles, get the RBIs. That's it, I do my job."

The 23-year-old went above and beyond the call of duty against the Mets. After going hitless in the Cats' previous two games, he ended the funk with his sixth three-hit game of the season. He finished 3-for-4, also grounding into a double play in the fourth.

"It was pretty good," said Vargas, who signed with Minnesota as a non-drafted free agent on Feb. 25, 2009. "It's always fun when you win. Everybody's happy."

A year ago, he led the Florida State League with 93 RBIs while tying for second with 19 homers. But his average came out to just .267, a figure with which he was not satisfied.

His impressive average this year has left Vargas free to worry about other things, such as one day being called up to Target Field.

"Maybe this year, maybe next year," he said. "But that's the dream."

For Binghamton, Matt Clark hit a solo homer, his ninth, in the sixth and Darrell Ceciliani came through with a two-run single in the first.

Mark Emery is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @Mark_Emery. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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