It's been a homer-happy month for Michael Hermosillo, but Friday served as new territory.
The Angels' No. 27 prospect needed only four innings to record his first career three-homer game as Triple-A Salt Lake pounded El Paso, 12-5, at Southwest University Park. He drove in four runs and has gone deep nine times while plating 17 runs in his last 10 games.
Video: Bees' Hermosillo crushes third homer
Until recently, Hermosillo wasn't known as a home run hitter, despite packing some power. In his first four professional seasons, he totaled nine. But that's changed lately for the 24-year-old, who has 10 long balls in August alone, a stretch that included back-to-back two-homer games and five in a three-game span.
"It's been a collective effort," he said. "I've been around four or five good hitting coaches, not only in our organization but independently on my own. I think we as a whole have come up with a good level of patterns to repeat at the plate.
"Mid-July, I really started to feel like I was getting going, but the home runs weren't showing. Then these last 15 days, there's been a lot of home runs. But there's really nothing behind those -- I'm just trying to hit the ball hard and swing at good pitches."
Gameday box score
It didn't take long for Hermosillo to implement his strategy Friday, as Salt Lake chased Chihuahuas starter Dietrich Enns with a six-run first inning. After top Angels prospect Jo Adell got things started with a double, Justin Bour roped a two-run blast with one out to put the Bees ahead for good. It took two pitches for Hermosillo to follow suit as he blasted a solo shot to left-center, racking up his first round tripper.
An inning later, the cleanup hitter did it again. With Bour on first, Hermosillo pounced on the first pitch from left-hander Kyle McGrath and roped it over the left field fence. The two-run dinger extended Salt Lake's lead to 8-2.
Hermosillo still had one momentous swing left, and what he did with it may have come from some encouragement from a teammate. Batting for the third time in the bottom of the fourth, he again swung at the first pitch, this time from right-hander Robert Stock. The result? A solo shot to straightaway center field to complete the trifecta.
"Our catcher, Josh Thole, told me right before that at-bat and said, 'Come on, shock them all. No one's expecting you to hit another one,'" Hermosillo said. "The only thing that was helping was knowing I was 2-for-2 with two home runs. I was thinking in the back of my head, 'Don't let up, don't second-guess what you're doing right now, just stay in the moment.' ... I went up there with a cool mind, to put a barrel to the ball and for it to go out."
It was the third three-homer game of the season for Salt Lake, following Jarrett Parker -- who did it on May 30 -- and Jared Walsh -- who accomplished the feat on July 23. Hermosillo has 14 homers, topping the career high he established a year ago, when he hit 12 for the Bees and one in the Majors.
2019 Minor League milestones
"I've been working on driving the ball and increasing exit velocity, so I think there's definitely a correlation," he said. "But I wouldn't say I go out there trying to hit home runs; I just go out there trying to hit the ball hard."
Hermosillo missed the first two months of the season recovering from a sports hernia that he suffered last year. He had surgery last October 31 and did not return until early June. Since rejoining the Bees, he's compiled a .250/.343/.500 slash line.
Parker homered, drove in four runs and fell a triple short of the cycle for Salt Lake, while Erick Salcedo ripped his first Triple-A homer, a two-run shot off Enns. Adell doubled twice and scored a run.
For El Paso, Padres No.11 prospect Austin Allen was 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored. Michael Gettys clubbed his team-high 30th homer and drove in three runs and Aderlin Rodriguez turned in a 3-for-4 effort with two doubles and an RBI.