Smith powers Dodgers' romp with big start

No. 4 prospect plates career-high seven; Lux chips in four hits

Will Smith has 10 homers in his last 14 games with Oklahoma City. (Dylan Heuer/Iowa Cubs)

By Tyler Maun / MiLB.com | July 17, 2019 1:17 AM

Over his previous seven games, Will Smith had driven in seven runs. On Tuesday, he matched that total by the third inning.

The fourth-ranked Dodgers prospect cranked a pair of homers, including his first grand slam as a pro, and drove in a career-high seven runs in his first three trips to the plate, leading Triple-A Oklahoma City to a 13-4 romp at Iowa.

"As a hitter, to hit in that 2-3-4-5 spot, you've got to be able to drive guys in," Smith said. "That's what I tried to do and, luckily, I've got guys in front of me who were getting on base tonight."

Smith and Oklahoma City started quickly at Principal Park. After Dodgers No. 2 prospect Gavin Lux opened the game with a single to center field, Smith followed with a two-run blast to left-center. An inning later, MLB.com's No. 100 overall prospect came up with the bases loaded and two outs and tattooed a grand slam to center.

Video: Smith smacks grand slam for OKC

"I was just trying to put good at-bats together," he said. "The night before wasn't great, so I made a few adjustments in the cage and got a good pitch my first at-bat, which I hit out. Then the next inning, we load the bases up, Lux walked before me to load them up, and I got to two strikes and he [Trevor Clifton] hung a slider up in the zone that I hit out."

Smith has multiple homers in two of his last four games after cranking a pair of big flies on Friday at Memphis.

Twelfth-ranked Edwin Rios followed Smith's second homer with a blast to right to give Oklahoma City a 7-0 lead.


Gameday box score


After Iowa responded with two runs in the bottom of the second, Smith again came up with the bases loaded in the third and did more damage without a swing, taking a free pass from Clifton to finish off his run-producing night.

Before Tuesday, Smith had never driven in more than four runs in a game. The backstop bumped his slash line to .279/.308/.618 -- an OPS of .998, one point shy of the one he's put up in nine Major League games across two callups this season. How close he is to the Majors is in the back of Smith's mind but not a focus.

"I mean, it is, but I'm trying not to let that get to me at all," he said. "I just try to go out and try to stick to my plan for that day and attack that pitcher how I would no matter where I'm playing. I'm going to be here for who knows how long, and that's kind of how I go about it -- just try to help the team win and put together good at-bats."

Oklahoma City rolled up 15 hits, including four homers among seven for extra bases.

"It's a fun lineup to be a part of," Smith said. "You've got Gavin Lux in the leadoff spot. He's hitting .500 since he's been up here. It's unreal to watch him. You've got four or five guys who have made their big league debuts this year with Eddie Rios, [Kyle Garlick], [Matt Beaty] just got called back up yesterday, DJ Peters coming up from Double-A has been swinging the bat really well. Connor Joe is batting in the seventh hole. That's crazy. He's been our two-hole hitter all year and he's been great. It's a fun lineup to be a part of and a scary lineup if I was facing them."

2019 MiLB include

Lux continued his torrid Triple-A start with a 4-for-5 night that included a long two-run homer in the eighth. Ranked 31st overall, he's hit safely in all 13 games since a promotion from Double-A Tulsa with three four-hit efforts and a .500 average.

"It's special to watch," Smith said. "There's hot and then there's what Gavin Lux is right now. He's putting together good at-bats. He's swinging at the right pitches. He's not overmatched at all by some older guys that he's faced and he's just not missing pitches he should hit.

"It's been fun to watch him."

Tyler Maun is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @TylerMaun. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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