A good coach is paying dividends for Cody Bellinger.The Dodgers' top prospect clubbed a pair of solo shots on Wednesday -- his first multi-homer effort of the season -- before Triple-A Oklahoma City fell to Nashville, 9-8, at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
A good coach is paying dividends for Cody Bellinger.
The Dodgers' top prospect clubbed a pair of solo shots on Wednesday -- his first multi-homer effort of the season -- before Triple-A Oklahoma City fell to Nashville, 9-8, at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
Bellinger put the Dodgers on the board in the bottom of the first inning when he crushed a 3-0 fastball from Sounds starter Daniel Gossett over the fence in dead center field.
The 2013 fourth-round pick walked, grounded out and popped out before coming to the plate again in the ninth with Oklahoma City trailing by two. This time, he fell behind, 1-2, against reliever Simon Castro before driving the ball out to right field, capping his first two-homer game since Sept. 4 against Omaha.
"He was going fastball up and in consistently and he got me the first couple times, so I had a good feeling it was coming again," Bellinger said of the second homer. "I just put the barrel to it."
Bellinger raised his average to .360 in 13 games this season. In 15 Pacific Coast League games over the last two seasons, the 21-year-old first baseman is 22-for-57 (.386) with eight homers and 18 RBIs.
MLB.com's No. 10 overall prospect, Bellinger credits his success at the Minor Leagues' highest level to the tutelage of hitting coach Shawn Wooten. The results didn't show in Spring Trainig, where the Arizona native batted .207 in 30 Cactus League games, but he's reaped the benefits of one specific lesson since Opening Day.
"For me, it's consistency in my load. I'm really starting to understand my swing," Bellinger said. "This Spring Training, my hitting coach, who's up here in Triple-A with me, we made some adjustments to help me hit this level of pitching and beyond.
"It was more pre-swing, how to get my hands in the right position to hit and attack the ball more consistently, because everything up here moves a lot and pitchers have an idea and a plan to get you out."
Until Wednesday, Bellinger experienced little success against the Sounds, with three hits in 17 regular-season at-bats against them. All three hits, however, were homers.
"It's a high-risk, high-reward what they're doing. They throw up and in consistently," Bellinger said. "It's a tough pitch to hit. If they do it and they got me beat, then I tip my cap. But if they miss their spot, then that's when I get them and they tip their caps."
Darnell Sweeney also went yard for the Dodgers, adding a pair of singles and scoring twice.
Reliever Adam Liberatore (0-1) faced two batters and allowed one run and one hit for Oklahoma City after starter Jair Jurrjens was roughed up for five runs on four hits and five walks with three strikeouts over 4 2/3 frames.
Aaron Kurcz improved to 2-1 for Nashville after fanning two and allowing one hit in 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Castro gave up Bellinger's second homer and one walk but fanned one and recorded the final four outs for his first save of the season.
A's No. 18 prospectMatt Olson homered, singled and plated two runs for the Sounds.
Alex Kraft is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow and chat with him on Twitter @Alex_Kraft21.