The first multi-homer effort of Jeter Downs' professional career may be just what he needed to jump-start his season.The Dodgers' seventh-ranked prospect went deep twice and drove in three runs to power Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga to a 7-3 triumph over San Jose on Saturday night at Excite Ballpark.
The first multi-homer effort of Jeter Downs' professional career may be just what he needed to jump-start his season.
The Dodgers' seventh-ranked prospect went deep twice and drove in three runs to power Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga to a 7-3 triumph over San Jose on Saturday night at Excite Ballpark.
Gameday box score
Downs smashed a 2-0 pitch from Giants starter Aaron Phillips over the fence in left field for a two-run jack in the third inning, then led off the seventh with another blast to left off right-handed reliever Peter Lannoo.
It was just the third multi-hit game of the season for the 20-year-old shortstop, who came into the game batting .196 in his first stint in the California League. He ranks eighth on the circuit with seven stolen bases.
"It was good going out there and sticking to the plan," Downs said, "because things haven't been going my way. But that's baseball."
He said he's focused on staying confident even though he knows balls just haven't been dropping for him.
"Just swinging at my pitches and their pitches and not being as aggressive," added Downs, the 32nd overall pick in the 2017 Draft. "I've felt great in the box all season, except for one series."
Downs came over to the Dodgers in the blockbuster offseason trade with the Reds that sent outfielders Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp to Cincinnati.
"In the offseason, it was a little weird to think that it happened," he said of being traded for two All-Stars.
In 2018, his first year of full-season ball, he batted .257/.351/.402 with 13 homers and 10 stolen bases in 120 games for Class A Dayton. With Rookie Advanced Billings in 2017, the Florida native hit .267/.370/.424 with six homers and 29 RBIs.
Downs said the Dodgers organization has been very welcomingsince the trade, letting him do what he does best on the field.
"They let me play my game for the most part, but there are things we've tweaked along the way and both sides agreed on," he said, pointing to small facets of his hitting, defense and baserunning. "Just toning up and trying to keep me consistent. It's been good communication on both sides."
The big night at the plate definitely felt good, but it didn't feel like a sense of relief, he explained.
"You still have five months to go," Downs said. "I'll be relieved when the season is over and things start evening out."
Wills Montgomerie, Logan Salow and rehabbing Dodgers left-hander Tony Cingrani held San Jose hitless into the eighth before Logan Baldwin greeted southpaw Austin Hamilton with a leadoff single to left. Salow (2-0) worked around a walk in 1 1/3 innings for the win, striking out two.
Shlomo Sprung is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/sprungonsports>@sprungonsports