McKinstry newest hero for Oklahoma City

Dodgers prospect homers twice, drives in six on perfect night

Before his promotion, Zach McKinstry ranked among the Texas League leaders in batting and OPS. (Cody Roper/Oklahoma City Dodgers)

By Katie Woo / MiLB.com | August 9, 2019 11:54 PM

You can add Zach McKinstry to the list of Dodgers prospects who have caught fire immediately after making the jump to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

The 24-year-old infielder belted a pair of homers and drove in a career-high six runs on a perfect night at the plate, leading the Dodgers to a 9-2 win over Tacoma on Friday night at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. McKinstry went 4-for-4 and has hit safely in all five games since his promotion to the Pacific Coast League on Saturday.

Video: Oklahoma City's McKinstry rips 2nd three-run homer 

After batting .279 in 95 games for Double-A Tulsa, McKinstry earned a callup to Oklahoma City and has been on a tear since. Through Thursday, he was 8-for-16 (.500) and set a then-career high with four RBIs on Wednesday while clubbing his first PCL homer. Friday however, may have been his best performance yet.

McKinstry got his night -- and Oklahoma City's scoring -- started early. With one out and runners on first and second in the second inning, he fell behind, 1-2, in his first at-bat against starter Darren McCaughan. But he turned on the right-hander's next pitch and deposited it over the right-center fence, putting the Dodgers up, 3-0.

It was deja vu one inning later. After Zach Reks laced a bases-loaded single to score two runs, McKinstry came up with two outs and two on. He worked McCaughan to a 1-1 count before crushing a towering fly to left. It looked like if the ball might land foul, but it stayed just fair for his second three-run blast.


Gameday box score


As he broke into his home run trot, it was hard for McKinstry to contain his emotions. He circled the bases with an ear-to-ear grin before being mobbed in the dugout.

"Thinking back through my career, I don't think I've ever done that," he said. "It was pretty awesome to get it fair and squeeze it in there over the fence. It was really a great feeling. Just getting called up to Triple-A makes it that much bigger."

McKinstry ripped singles in the fifth and seventh to cap his second career four-hit effort. He went 9-for-11 in the three-game series with three doubles, three homers and 10 RBIs. Dating back to July 1, the Toledo, Ohio, native is hitting .375.

"Honestly, when I came up, I was a little nervous since everybody caught fire right when they got here," he admitted. "I kind of pressed the first two days. But I took it back a little bit and just tried to see the ball well. Now, I'm living up to the expectation. 

"I've hit the ball hard all year. Things are just falling right now. You know how baseball goes. I'm hitting it hard and good things are happening for me."

2019 MiLB include

A product of Central Michigan, McKinstry has boosted his average to .296 and cracked 15 homers across the two levels. In five Triple-A games, he is 12-for-20 (.600) with a 1.819 OPS.

"[The Dodgers] give me all the tools to perform every day," he said. "There's great coaches here in OKC and throughout the organization. I love playing for the Dodgers. They've given a guy from a lower-level college a chance in the 33rd round and pushed me through the system."

Reks finished with two RBIs and Connor Joe drove in a run in the sixth to round out the scoring for Oklahoma City. 

Joseph Odom ripped a solo shot and Jaycob Brugman doubled in a run for Tacoma.

Katie Woo is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @katiejwoo. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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