Round Rock right fielder Scott Heineman hurt the 51s with his bat and glove on Sunday, doing it all in Round Rock’s 10-6 win over Las Vegas.
A day after hitting two home runs and driving in four, Heineman followed that performance by driving in six of the Express’ (29-34) 10 runs in the game.
“It’s just a tribute to the guys for getting on for me,” he said. “I’ve had three hits in games before and no RBIs. I’m getting no RBIs if nobody’s doing anything ahead of me so it’s just a tribute to the guys.”
Heineman, who now has a 13-game hitting streak, hit a three-run blast in the third inning off of starter Chris Flexen and added a two-RBI single off of him in the next inning. He also had an RBI single off Joseph Zanghi in the top of the ninth inning.
“You catch a guy that’s hot right now, every pitch that we throw at him, he’s making good contact so that’s been the whole series with him,” manager Tony DeFrancesco said. “We might have to pitch around him tomorrow just to try to get him out of the way.”
And in the seventh inning, the right fielder helped stunt a 51s’ (26-38) rally by throwing Patrick Biondi, who was trying to score from third, out at home to complete a double play.
“When you don’t score, you try to force stuff. Early in the game, the sac fly to left down by three, I didn’t send (the runner) that time. That time I kind of forced it and it probably took us out of the inning,” DeFrancesco said of the decision to send Biondi home.
Heineman followed that up by robbing Dominic Smith of a hit with two runners on base with a diving catch.
The defensive plays, he said, he takes more pride in than his day at the plate.
“It doesn’t happen as often,” he said. “There’s nothing like making a diving play or throwing someone out and picking up one of your teammates or your pitchers. That is the best feeling for me.”
Las Vegas starter Chris Flexen went seven innings, giving up the six runs and striking out 10 while helping preserve a tired bullpen.
All of his runs were confined to two innings — three in the third on Heineman’s home run and three more in the fourth on four hits and a wild pitch.
“I liked the way he was aggressive early. He got in trouble, he tried to execute some pitches a little in,” DeFrancesco said. “In this ballpark if you don’t get it in, it’s going to be hit pretty hard. The next inning, he gave up three runs, one was one a wild pitch. I think he was late getting home. With two outs, he hung a breaking ball and gave up two more runs for no reason for me.”
The 51s headed into the ninth inning down by three, but couldn’t stay there as Zanghi, just called up from Class-A Advanced St. Lucie, gave up four runs, all with two outs in the ninth inning. He is now on his way back to St. Lucie.
“We got him in the game to try to keep the other guys fresh. He mowed them down. He had two quick outs,” DeFrancesco said. “The next thing you know, it’s four runs on the board. It’s execution of pitches.”
The 51s did score three runs in the bottom of the ninth, thanks in part to a two-run blast from Zach Borenstein, which would have tied the game. Instead, those Round Rock ninth-inning runs were costly ones.
“It just seems that we keep getting down early, keep fighting back,” DeFrancesco said. “The guys don’t quit. We scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth. Unfortunately, it was four runs short.”
Outfielder Ezequiel Carrera was hurt running the bases on Sunday and was taken out of the game. DeFrancesco said he had an issue with his calf and would be placed on the disabled list on Monday.