Rockies' Tapia hits inside-the-park homer in Fall League

Colorado's No. 8 prospect goes 4-for-4, falls triple shy of cycle

Rockies' Tapia hits inside-the-park homer in Fall League

MESA, Ariz. -- Raimel Tapia didn't hit for the cycle, but when that's the lone negative, it was a pretty good day at the plate.

The No. 8 prospect in the Rockies' system went 4-for-4, including an inside-the-park home run, as the Salt River Rafters beat the Mesa Solar Sox, 12-6, at Sloan Park on Wednesday afternoon.

"It feels really good right now, I was working really hard in the cage today to be short to the ball and be on time," Tapia said through translator Oscar Hernandez. "I was a little bit longer with my swing (before), but it felt good today."

Tapia hit a two-run homer to center in the first, doubled to left in the third and singled to left in the fifth and ninth as Salt River won its sixth consecutive game. Tapia also drew a walk in the seventh, reaching base in all five trips to the plate.

Despite all that, it was the triple that turned out to be elusive.

"It doesn't matter about that I just want to make good contact," Tapia said when asked if he was aware that he was just a triple shy of the cycle.

If making good contact is Tapia's goal, he certainly accomplished it Wednesday. The outfielder got things going for Salt River offensively as his two-run, inside-the-park homer highlighted a four-run first inning.

The center fielder hit a line drive just above the 410-foot sign and when Angels' prospect Chad Hinshaw fell down after crashing into the wall, Tapia was off to the races.

"When I hit the ball I felt like I hit the ball hard and I was always running hard," Tapia said. "Then, I saw the coaches sending me to third base and that's when I thought I could go home."

The offensive success is nothing new to Tapia, as he is coming off his best professional season.

In 131 games at Class A Advanced Modesto, Tapia put up career-highs in homers (12), doubles (34) and triples (9), while hitting .305.

After a slow start in the AFL, the outfielder is starting to get back into the swing of things, as he's recently caught fire at the plate. Not only did Tapia have four hits Wednesday to bring his AFL average up to .300, he also has hits in five of his last six games.

"I'm making an adjustment right now with the bat, just being short to the ball," Tapia said. "Before I felt like I was swinging, swinging and swinging at balls, but the last couple of days I feel like I'm being more patient, waiting for my pitch."

William Boor is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.