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Sweeney homers in three straight at-bats

Dodgers' No. 19 prospect keeps dialing long distance over two games
July 1, 2014

Darnell Sweeney knows people don't think of him as a power hitter. He doesn't think of himself as a power hitter. Other people might after Monday's performance, but he won't.

Batting from the top of Double-A Chattanooga's lineup, the Dodgers' No. 19 prospect went deep in three consecutive at-bats. His blasted his first two home runs when Sunday's suspended game resumed, and his third round-tripper led off the Lookouts' efforts in the latter contest. They won the seven-inning game against Birmingham, 5-3. The Barons took the first one, 12-10.

"I'm not considered a power hitter. To put the ball out of the park, it is a good feeling," Sweeney said. "I'm not going to try to become a power hitter. I'm going to stay with my approach. I know that's what I've got to do to stay in this game, so that's what I'm going to do."

The 2012 13th-round pick came up to the plate in the first game during the sixth inning with two on and two out and the Lookouts trailing by one run. He deposited a 1-2 offering from David Cales into the right-field seats.

His second blast of the game left the yard on a 1-2 count during the eighth, pushing the score to 9-7 in favor of Chattanooga. Nestor Molina (3-2) served that one up, although the right-hander eventually got the win after Birmingham scored five runs in the ninth off Blake Smith (0-2).

"My first home run, it was with two strikes, and all I was trying to do honestly was put the ball in play," Sweeney said. "He left a curveball up in the zone where I could put a good swing on it. That's what I did. The second one, actually, all three of them were off of curveballs. I wasn't really looking for it, but it was in my zone, and I was able to put good swings on all three of them."

With Nick McCully starting for the Barons in the second game, Sweeney led off by hammering a 2-1 pitch for his 11th homer of the year. McCully (3-7) took the loss, while reliever Jhan Marinez (1-0) went on to earn the win.

"The third time was kind of surprising," the 23-year-old said. "I knew I got it, but I really wasn't trying to hit it out. The ball just kept on carrying."

Sweeney finished the nightcap 1-for-3 after going 4-for-5 in the suspended game. He also doubled twice and scored three runs in the early contest.

Through 79 games this season, the University of Central Florida product is batting .323/.411/.533 with 26 doubles, two triples and 11 home runs. He has scored 57 times and driven in 39 runs with nine stolen bases in 20 attempts.

And with 97 total hits, the Florida native leads the Southern League.

"I'm just blessed to be put in the situation to play every day and reach that number," he said.

Mark Emery is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @Mark_Emery.