July 5, 2022

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Dodgers' Busch slams two homers, drives in six

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As the second of Michael Busch‘s two homers sailed over the right-field fence, it took with it the remnants of a middling start to his 2022.

Baseball’s No. 66 overall prospect went deep in consecutive at-bats, the latter a grand slam that gave Double-A Tulsa a lead it would not relinquish in its 13-11 win over visiting Amarillo. Busch’s first two long balls of the year produced six RBIs, equaling a career high set last Sept. 4 against Springfield when he tallied his first multihomer game.

“It was a good night,” Busch said. “I saw the ball well and put together some real good at-bats. I’ll certainly take it. Not all of them went the way I wanted, but baseball’s a tough game.”

The 24-year-old entered the fourth inning hitless in his first two at-bats and just 4-for-17 to begin the year. With the Drillers down two runs after jumping ahead, 5-0, Busch turned on the power, launching his first home run of the year to left field, which was only an appetizer for his next plate appearance in the fifth. Batting with his club trailing yet again, the Minnesota native turned around a first-pitch fastball and sent it well beyond the right-field fence for a grand slam, the first of his career.

It was the first bases-loaded at-bat of the season for Busch, who hit .214 (3-for-14) in those situations last season.

“I knew [Amarillo pitcher and D-backs No. 21 prospect Levi Kelly] had been throwing quite a few sliders, so I kept that in my back pocket,” Busch said. “He left it up a bit and I put a good swing on it. I didn’t want to fall behind early, but I wasn’t looking to hit [a homer]. Every time I try and hit a home run, it doesn’t work out. I was just trying to barrel it up and hit a line drive. Sometimes you catch it good and sometimes they turn into home runs.”

The lefty-swinging infielder also walked, pushing his early-season slash line to .300/.462/.650 in 20 at-bats.

Busch’s stay in the Texas League could be brief, considering he spent the entirety of 2021 with Tulsa. The 2019 first-round Draft pick batted .267 with an .870 OPS, 48 extra-base hits, 20 homers and 67 RBIs in 107 games.

“Staying the course is the name of the game,” he said. “We’ve got 135 games left and you can’t get too high or too low. I’m happy about tonight but tomorrow is a new day. I just want to be as consistent as I can be, on both sides of the ball. Last year was a roller coaster ride of sorts, but I learned a lot. I’m looking forward to carrying that over to this year.”

Despite carrying a good portion of the load offensively, Busch was helped out by a trio of fellow prospects. Dodgers No.17 prospect James Outman, No. 27 Carson Taylor and No. 30 Justin Yurchak combined for eight hits, four doubles, five RBIs and five runs.

MLB’s No. 19 overall prospect Corbin Carroll slugged a three-run homer, his second of the season, walked twice and scored two runs for the Sod Poodles. The 21-year-old is off to a .333/.440/.619 start with two jacks and four RBIs in five games.

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