One day after the one-year anniversary of the last three-homer game for Triple-A Memphis, Lane Thomas reset the record book.
The Cardinals' No. 9 prospect blasted a trio of big flies for his first career three-homer game, powering the Redbirds to a 9-4 triumph over Oklahoma City on Saturday night at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. He drove in four runs and has four homers over the last two nights.
Video: Memphis' Thomas rips his third home run of game
"It honestly didn't even cross my mind until I did it," he said with a laugh. "You get caught up in the at-bat and situation and what pitches you're looking for. It just comes with playing the game."
Thomas parked his first round-tripper of the night in the fourth inning after falling into an 0-2 hole against starter and Dodgers No. 11 prospect Dennis Santana. With two out, he crushed a solo shot to left-center field that extended Memphis' lead to 4-1.
The 23-year-old capped a four-run fifth with a two-run blast off Santana. This time, he needed to see just one pitch from the right-hander before sending the ball to straightaway center field.
The Redbirds had an 8-4 cushion when Thomas strode to the plate in the seventh, but the hat trick didn't come without some suspense. Left-handed reliever Chris Nunn worked the count full before the former fifth-round Draft pick ripped the payoff pitch down the left field line, where it landed just fair enough to complete Memphis' second milestone in as many nights.
Gameday box score
"I knew once I hit it that I hit it out. I got it pretty good," Thomas said. "But going into that at-bat, I wasn't trying to hit a third home run. I was just trying to put together a good at-bat."
In Friday's 13-10 slugfest, Cardinals No. 12 prospect Randy Arozarena hit for the cycle.
Thomas is the first Redbird to hit three homers in a game since Adolis Garcia accomplished the feat on July 26, 2018. It was the third hat trick in the Pacific Coast League in the last five days, following Salt Lake's Jared Walsh on Tuesday and Las Vegas' Sean Murphy on Friday.
2019 Minor League milestones
Drafted by the Blue Jays in 2014, Thomas was traded to St. Louis for cash considerations in the middle of the 2017 season. In his second PCL stint, he's hitting .270/.350/.464 with 10 homers and an .840 OPS. He made his big league debut on April 18 as a defensive replacement and homered in first Major League at-bat two days later. Since then, he's shuffled to and from the parent club, going 4-for-11 (.308) and driving in four runs in four separate stints.
"It's been tough to stay in a groove, but since I came down from the big leagues right before the All-Star break, I've just worked on some things," Thomas admitted. "Our hitting coach [Jobel Jimenez] is awesome. He understands the variables that can happen.
2019 MiLB include
"It's tough probably for some people, but for me it's just understanding my role for right now. I'm not going to get upset over things I can't control. It's understanding your role and doing what you have to do to get back [to the Majors]. That's always been my focus -- I can't control what decisions are made, but I can control what's going on with me that day."
Cardinals No. 16 prospect Edmundo Sosa extended his hitting streak to four games, going 2-for-5 with a solo homer and two RBIs for Memphis.
For Oklahoma City, Dodgers No. 19 prospect Edwin Rios ripped a solo jack and doubled. Connor Joe, Zach Reks and Ben Moore also plated runs.