08/25/08 10:50 PM ET
Blanks plates nine in Missions' rout
Texas League All-Star goes 5-for-6 with homer in career day
By Danny Wild / Special to MLB.com
Blanks went 5-for-6 with a homer and a career-high nine RBIs as the visiting San Antonio Missions totaled 28 hits in a 21-3 rout of the Corpus Christi Hooks on Monday.
"I knew I had a few, but I thought I was somewhere around five RBIs," Blanks said. "I didn't know I had nine, but it was nice to know I did that well. It's definitely one of the best games I've ever had, by far."
The 21-year-old Blanks drew a bases-loaded walk in the third inning, lined an RBI single in the fourth, singled again in the sixth, hit a two-run double in the eighth and did serious damage in the ninth with a two-run homer and a three-RBI double.
"It felt good, I was just swinging the bat and had people on base for me," said Blanks, who's batting .318 with 18 homers and 101 RBIs this year. "Everyone did real well for me tonight, so it felt real good."
Blanks drove in a previous career-high six runs in his first professional game back on June 22, 2005 for the Rookie-level Arizona League Padres.
"It's nice to know I've got another number to aim for," Blanks said.
A lofty goal, although nothing seems out of reach considering the way the Texas League All-Star has been swinging lately. It was the second five-hit effort in the last six days for Blanks, who, after his latest performance, has 21 RBIs in his last 11 games for the Missions.
"I definitely think I've made some good adjustments to both the pitchers and parks," Blanks said of his fourth season. "I've played a little more this year, some more first base than DH, and I think I've made some pretty good adjustments. Hopefully I'll continue to do it."
Blanks went 5-for-7 with a pair of homers and six RBIs on Aug. 20 against Frisco and said the secret was in his hands.
"My hitting coach, Terry Kennedy, has been working with me over the past two weeks, and he gave me a little something he'd seen. Ever since than I've put that to work, things have just clicked," said Blanks. "He told me to get my hands up a little higher, so I brought them up and I started hitting again."
The Padres' 42nd-round pick in 2004 has been an All-Star in each of his four seasons in San Diego's system. He was named the best power hitter in the organization by Baseball America in 2006, only to follow up the honor with 24 homers and 100 RBIs for Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore in 2007.
That power Storm lineup is now in San Antonio, and Blanks said it felt like old times Monday. The Missions batted around four times.
"We actually last year had a 30-0 game with 28 hits," Blanks said of the Storms' May 18 win over Lancaster last season. Blanks had six hits and scored six times that night. "This is virtually the exact same squad. A lot of the same guys are here, so we've put together some good games here as well."
With four RBIs heading into the ninth, Blanks was just looking to stay on the roll.
"I was just looking for a good pitch to hit. I was getting a lot of fastballs, and I looked for another," he said. "I got it that time and put a good swing on it."
The Missions loaded the bases for Blanks a second time. There would be no bases-loaded walk in this inning.
"I really just wanted to keep it rolling, just get a hit and keep everything going," Blanks said of the bases-clearing double that gave him 101 RBIs on the season. "And hopefully we'd keep going from there."
Blanks is 13th Texas League player to have nine RBIs in a game. J.J. Clark holds a seemingly unbreakable record of 16 RBIs, set on June 15, 1902.
But Blanks was just a piece of the puzzle. Jose Lobaton went 3-for-4 with two homers and three RBIs, Josh Alley had three hits and three RBIs, Craig Cooper added a pinch-hit two-run double and Gabriel Lopez went 4-for-6 and scored twice.
The Missions' 28 hits were the most by a Texas League team since they tallied 28 on May 8, 1999 to beat the Midland RockHounds. Craig Monroe was the last player to total nine RBIs in a Texas League game on April 8, 2000 for the Tulsa Drillers.
"It really just seemed like everyone was locked in," Blanks said. "Even the pitcher [Stephen Faris] had two hits."
Faris (8-5) held the Hooks to a pair of runs on five hits over seven innings for the win for San Antonio (30-32).
Bud Norris (3-8) was charged with three runs on five hits over three innings to suffer the loss for Corpus Christi (21-41).
Danny Wild is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.