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Jays' d'Arnaud amasses hits in bunches
Top Toronto prospect goes 3-for-5, extends streak to 10 games
05/01/2012 2:17 AM ET
2007 first-rounder Travis d'Arnaud has raised his average 100 points since April 18.
2007 first-rounder Travis d'Arnaud has raised his average 100 points since April 18. (Las Vegas 51s)
When Travis d'Arnaud first arrived in Las Vegas, he put too much pressure on himself to impress him new teammates. Realizing that less is sometimes more, the Blue Jays' No. 1 prospect has simplified his approach and is now reaping the benefits.

A key piece in the deal that sent Roy Halladay to Philadelphia in 2009, MLB.com's No. 25 prospect went 3-for-5 to extend his hitting streak to 10 games in Las Vegas' 8-7 win in Reno on Monday evening.

It was the 23-year-old's second three-hit game in the past three days and his third multi-hit outing of his last five. Since April 18, the California native has lifted his batting average 100 points to a season-high .282.

"I think at the beginning of the season I was overswinging and trying to do too much," d'Arnaud said. "I wasn't staying within myself or playing my own game.

"I was in a new place and seeing new faces and I was trying to impress everyone instead of playing hard and letting things come to me as the game goes on. It took me a while to discover the problem, but once I did, I was able to attack it."

The 2007 first-round Draft pick got off to a slow start in the Pacific Coast League, recording just one hit in his first four games and batting as low as .182 through the first two weeks of the season.

Since then, the right-hander -- who hit .311 with 21 homers and 78 RBIs a year ago with Double-A New Hampshire -- has adjusted his gameplan and focused more on putting the ball in play rather than swinging for the fences.

"In my pregame routine, I've been slowing everything down and not trying to do too much," the 6-foot-2 backstop said. "I hit some balls off a tee and take some flips. During batting practice, I'm not trying to have a home run derby, I'm more focused and relaxed.

"I was too erratic and all over the place and I wasn't relaxed like I was last year. I was tensing up because I wanted to hit it so far instead of hitting it on the dough. Sometimes my swing just got too long because I was thinking about a home run."

On Monday, d'Arnaud continued his singles-first mentality. He thinks that if he consistently puts good swings on the ball, the singles will eventually turn into doubles and the doubles, in turn, will start leaving the park.

He singled in the first, fourth and fifth innings before grounding out in his final two at-bats. A defensive catcher by trade, d'Arnaud hopes that if his offense gets him to the Majors, his strengths behind the dish will keep him there.

"The catching and calling of the game, it's just a catcher pride thing," he said. "Everyone loves calling shutouts and it's my dream to call a perfect game. It's a game within a game. Another question you might ask is whether I would have a play at the plate in the last inning or a game-winning hit. I'd rather be the guy who saved the run."

On Monday, shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria was 2-for-4 with a grand slam out of the leadoff spot and Yan Gomes went 3-for-5 with a solo blast. Right-hander Bobby Korecky (1-0) retired all five batters he faced to earn the win and Ryota Igarashi struck out two batters over a perfect ninth for his first save of 2012.

Starter Tim Redding allowed seven runs on eight hits and two walks over 4 1/3 innings and did not factor in the decision.

Reno center fielder Adam Eaton collected three hits, including his first homer of the year, and Ryan Wheeler and Konrad Schmidt both went 2-for-4.

Sam Demel (0-2) yielded one run in the seventh inning to take the loss. Reno starter Tom Layne surrendered eight hits and four walks over four innings. He yielded seven runs and struck out two.

Ashley Marshall is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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