Power's on, but more's needed for Grizzlies in loss to River Cats

The Fresno BeeJune 3, 2014 

Fresno Grizzlies' Adam Duvall takes a cut in their game against the Sacramento River Cats on June 2, 2014. He homered for the first run in the game. Duvall also homered in the Grizzlies-River Cats game on June 3.

MARK CROSSE — THE FRESNO BEE Buy Photo

Fresno Grizzlies slugger Adam Duvall needed two games to get back into a home run groove.

And it took just a third game to show off his immense power.

A day after hitting his first home run since coming off the disabled list with a hamstring injury, Duvall launched his 17th home run -- a solo shot that sailed out of Chukchansi Park and landed on Fulton Street past left field -- during a 7-5 loss to the Sacramento River Cats on Tuesday.

Duvall, 25, reclaimed a tie for the Triple-A home run lead with Round Rock's Brand Snyder, who has played seven more games than the Grizzlies hitter. In addition, Duvall extended his hit streak to a team season-high 12 games after going 2 for 3.

"It's good being back in the lineup and playing," Duvall said. "Just trying to get some good at-bats, trying to battle. Just swing at my pitch, just try to put together some good at-bats. The more good at-bats you have, the more you fight, the numbers will take care of itself. The hamstring feels 100%. Just want to keep showing what I'm capable of."

Duvall, who is 4 for 11 with two homers since his return, has been limited to designated hitter but is scheduled to resume playing third base Thursday when the Grizzlies (30-30) open a road series against the Las Vegas 51s -- that is, should his hamstring still feel good.

Wednesday marks the Grizzlies' first off day since May 14, a span of 20 games, and many of the players are looking forward to some rest.

"These guys are tired," said manager Bob Mariano, whose Grizzlies moved to 13-15 at home and 7-10 during day games on the season.

"I've never played so many day games this early in the season, it seems like. It's really wearing them out. We need the break. It's a grind in this league. It really is. It's a tough-travel league."

Mariano hopes the pending return of catcher Andrew Susac (hamstring) and the continued power hitting of Duvall and fellow slugger Mark Minicozzi sparks an offense that could use some improvement despite ranking in the top half of the league in most offensive categories. Among the stats, the Grizzlies entered Tuesday fifth in the 16-team Pacific Coast league with 307 runs.

Susac is projected back within three to five games. He was hitting .296 with six home runs in 29 games after posting a .256 average with 12 homers for Double-A Richmond last season.

Minicozzi, who has been limited to 14 games with a shoulder injury, is batting .415 with three homers after hitting .309 with 10 home runs for Double-A Richmond last year. Minicozzi smashed his own solo shot Tuesday during the first inning against River Cats starting pitcher Dan Straily.

"You put those guys in the lineup, it's pretty tough to pitch around guys and (it) gives you a chance to put together some good at-bats," Mariano said of having Minicozzi, Duvall and Susac in the lineup at the same time.

"Just haven't had them all healthy together for a lot of games this season. But all of those guys know how to drive the ball, hit it out of the ballpark. (It) definitely would make a difference in your offense."

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6362, bjanteola@fresnobee.com or @Banteola_TheBee on Twitter.

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