The thrill of a three-homer game never wanes for player and fan alike, but for Mike Ford, it was a stroll down memory lane.The Yankees farmhand smacked a trio of roundtrippers and drove in four runs on Sunday as Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre rolled past Buffalo, 10-2, at Sahlen Field. It was
The thrill of a three-homer game never wanes for player and fan alike, but for Mike Ford, it was a stroll down memory lane.
The Yankees farmhand smacked a trio of roundtrippers and drove in four runs on Sunday as Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre rolled past Buffalo, 10-2, at Sahlen Field. It was Ford's third career multi-homer game and first since last April 12 when he went deep twice against Charlotte.
The 26-year-old tied the South Atlantic League record with four homers for Class A Charleston on May 25, 2014 against Hickory.
"Some days, you just feel good," Ford said. "I was getting some good pitches to hit, and I tried to keep that same swing going throughout the game. I wasn't able to do anything in those middle at-bats and couldn't do anything with it, but that's how it goes. But I was happy with the two homers and even more ecstatic with the third."
Ford opened the scoring with a solo shot to right field in the first inning against Clay Buchholz and pushed the RailRiders' lead to 3-0 with a two-run jack to right-center in the third off the rehabbing Blue Jays right-hander. The first baseman grounded out in his next two at-bats before completing his hat trick with a long solo blast to right in the ninth.
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Tyler Austin was the last RailRider to go deep three times in a game, achieving the feat on June 24, 2016 against Pawtucket.
Ford, who also ripped a two-run homer on Saturday, shares the Minor League lead with four jacks. Astros No. 3 prospectYordan Alvarez, who homered three times for Triple-A Round Rock on Saturday, matched Ford with his fourth long ball on Sunday.
Signed as undrafted free agent in 2013 after a college career at Princeton, the lefty-swinging slugger went deep 15 times last year with the RailRiders. He has 70 homers in a career that began with Class A Short Season Staten Island in 2013, including a career-high 20 for Double-A Trenton and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2017. Ford batted .270/.404/.471 with 45 extra-base hits and 86 RBIs in 126 games in his best season to date.
"I got off to a slower start than I would have liked last year," he said. "But I came into this season in a great place and really comfortable with my surroundings. I made a few changes to my swing which didn't exactly work during the spring, but I like how it feels now. I also trained completely different this year. I picked up yoga and focused more on cardio prior to the 2017 season. I blended that with my weight training last offseason, but this offseason I went overboard -- in a good way -- with yoga. It's given me a lot of endurance and flexibility that helps with my recovery after games. Yoga has been a real blessing for me. I feel great."
Through his first three games, the Belle Mead, New Jersey, native is 5-for-13 (.385) with four homers and seven RBIs.
"Last year was different for me," Ford said. "I was taken in the Rule 5 Draft [by the Mariners], which was a big thing considering I had spent my entire career with New York. And then with the season about to start, I find out I'm heading back [to the Yankees]. It was an interesting offseason."
Ford accounted for half of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's six homers Sunday. Mandy Alvarez, Cliff Pennington and Ryan Lavarnway also went deep, giving the RailRiders nine taters through four games.
Starter David Hale (1-0) used the early cushion to his advantage, holding Buffalo to a run on four hits over 5 2/3 innings. The 31-year-old walked two, hit a batter and struck out two.
Blue Jays No. 10 prospectCavan Biggio hit a solo shot and walked twice for the Bisons. The son of Hall of Famer Craig Biggio is 6-for-12 (.500) with two homers, a triple and five walks in his first four Triple-A contests.
Working his way back from a strained right elbow flexor, Buchholz (0-1) surrendered five runs -- three earned -- on four hits in five innings. The 34-year-old struck out five and did not walk a batter.
Michael Avallone is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MavalloneMiLB.