Shane Peterson is playing in his ninth Minor League season, but on Thursday night, he experienced something new.
"It was my first three-homer game, so it was definitely up there," among his best days at the ballpark, Peterson said.
Peterson's roundtrippers came during a 3-for-5 performance that netted him four RBIs and four runs scored and helped Triple-A Sacramento eke out a 10-9 win in 10 innings at Albuquerque. He now has eight long balls on the season.
It was the sixth three-homer game in franchise history for the River Cats -- the first since Chris Carter did it on April 22, 2012 at Reno -- and the second in as many nights in the Minors. Astros prospect Danry Vasquez homered three times for Class A Advanced Lancaster on Wednesday.
It also came one night after Peterson went 1-for-2 for the Pacific Coast League in the Triple-A All-Star Game.
"I feel tired more than anything. It was a long travel day from North Carolina to here, and this was a long game in Albuquerque," Peterson said. "But it's always good getting off to a good start to the second half."
All three of the left-handed hitter's dingers were to the opposite field.
"It's kind of been my approach most of the year, and coming here to Albuquerque that's what you have to do if you're going to have success, is use that side of the field," Peterson said. "For me, it's more just [about] barreling balls, whether to opposite field or the pull side or wherever."
The 26-year-old outfielder worked an eight-pitch walk against Isotopes starter Jeff Bennett in the first inning.
"A lot of places in the PCL especially, it can be tough to see in the first at-bat, and Albuquerque is one of the worst," Peterson said. "Being able to work a walk in that at-bat sets you up better for your next ones."
Facing Bennett again with one out in the third, Peterson saw six pitches. He clubbed the final one over the fence in left field for a solo homer.
"In that at-bat, I actually missed a couple pitches that I could have put in play pretty solid," said the Cal State Long Beach product. "But I was seeing it well, so I knew I'd either get a good pitch and be able to hit it hard, or not get anything to hit and take [them for balls]."
In the fifth, Peterson followed Jake Elmore's double with another homer of Bennett, this time on the first pitch of the at-bat.
"Based on the first at-bats, I thought the pitch was going to come hard in and I stuck with the approach to go opposite field," he said. "I let it go a little deeper and hit out to left even though the pitch was kind of in. It was more about my approach than what the pitcher was going to do."
The very next frame, Peterson welcomed Albuquerque reliever Scott Elbert by drilling his fifth offering out of the yard.
"They brought in a tough lefty. I was more worried about having a quality at-bat and hitting the ball hard than anything else," he said. "When I hit it, I knew it was going to go, the way the ball carried, but I don't know ... I've never done that before, so it was definitely a new experience."
Peterson reached on a fielder's choice and came around to score in the seventh and struck out in the ninth.
"I felt like going into my [late] at-bats, I felt comfortable. Even though I didn't get a hit or anything, I felt good about those at-bats," he said. "To hit three home runs in a game, a lot of things have to go right, but I was doing a lot of things right in those last at-bats and just didn't get results. That's kind of how baseball is."
Jose Martinez went 4-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored, and Nick Buss was 3-for-6 with an RBI double for the River Cats.
Tim Federowicz hit two home runs and plated four for the Isotopes. Second-ranked Dodgers prospect Joc Pederson stole three bases and scored a run.
Josh Jackson is a contributor to MiLB.com.