Cody Asche might not have ever had a better birthday at the plate than he did on Saturday night.
Asche celebrated his 28th birthday by going 3-for-4 with four RBIs and four runs scored in the 51s’ 15-2 victory over Salt Lake at Cashman Field.
“That one’s going to be hard to top, for sure,” Asche said.
His third-inning grand slam was the big blow in the 51s’ six-run frame, which gave the 51s (38-44) a seven-run lead and broke the game open.
“The guy (starter Osmer Morales) was kind of tricky in the regard (that) he was kind of like effectively wild with all of his pitches so (I) kind of had a spot that I was looking for for a pitch and I had missed two previous ones in that at-bat so when I got to two strikes, I was trying to stay small and put a barrel on the ball,” Asche said. “He threw something over the middle of the plate and (I) got the barrel there and the rest is in the books.”
Asche’s grand slam was one of four home runs for the 51s on the night. Zach Borenstein, Johnny Monell and Luis Guillorme each had blasts of their own in the win.
The 51s scored at least a run in the first, third, fifth, seventh and eighth innings. Four hitters — Asche, Guillorme, Ezequiel Carrera and Jeff McNeil — had three hits apiece while Borenstein and Monell each had two.
“We’ve been putting a lot of good at-bats together and we’ve been just playing some good complete games with pitching and defense and hitting,” Asche said.
They got another nice performance from their starter, this time from Josh Prevost. Prevost threw five innings and gave up just one unearned run on five hits in his second career Triple-A start.
“I think first thing he’s coming up from A-ball. He gave up a couple home runs in Tacoma,” manager Tony DeFrancesco said. “Today, he made some pitches. (The) first inning could have been ugly for him. He got out of a bases-loaded jam and he struck out (Jabari) Blash which was a big strikeout and then he pitched a couple easy innings.”
Prevost departed after the fifth at only 62 pitches. DeFrancesco said Prevost had some shoulder tightness but thought he would be OK.
After him, Kevin McGowan gave up a run in an inning and Ian Krol and Jacob Rhame combined for three scoreless frames.
“That was a nice breakout game for us,” DeFrancesco said. “To beat them, to get back in the race, we’ve still got three against them and hopefully we can finish strong before the break to get back into this division.”
The win marked the 51s’ fifth straight and 10th in their last 12 games. They have made up five games in as many days on Salt Lake (44-38) and now trail the division-leading Bees by six games.
“It’s hard to bring a group of guys together when there’s so much change,” DeFrancesco said. “We’ve finally got some consistency. Some of the older players are now mixing in and having success and it’s more about the team instead of the individual numbers. … I think a big part of it is starting pitching again giving us a chance and the bullpen’s been as good as its been all year.”