Francisco Álvarez’s home run drought had reached 29 games.
Baseball’s No. 7 overall prospect is known for his raw power; with a grade of 65, it’s his best tool. But after clubbing four dingers in his first six games of the season, the 20-year-old didn’t go deep for over a month.
That changed emphatically on Thursday night.
Even though the homers didn't come for a while, it was never a cause of concern for the Venezuela native.
"I know I can hit home runs," Álvarez said through interpreter Adrian Texidor. "Every day is the same. I just want to attack at the plate and play hard."
The backstop was poised to have a good night when he laced his 10th double of the year on the second pitch he saw in the bottom of the first. He immediately came around to score on a Ronny Mauricio single for the first of his three runs scored, tying his career high.
In his next trip to the plate, Álvarez got hold of a letter-high 1-0 pitch from Reading lefty Ethan Evanko and watched it fly over the left-field fence for his first dinger since April 17. The righty slugger faced Evanko again two frames later and muscled a 1-1 pitch on the outside part of the plate out to center for his second long ball and second RBI of the game.
It was the third multihomer game of Álvarez’s career and his first since July 31 of last year.
"I've been talking to one of my mentors back home in Venezuela," Álvarez said. "He's telling me not to try and pull everything. I felt really good in batting practice, so I just stayed with that approach and it feels good."
He added a single in the eighth and a walk in the ninth to complete the second four-hit game of his career -- his first came on Opening Day of last year when he collected three singles and a double. He raised his average 22 points, from .239 to .261, and now owns a team-best .808 OPS among qualified players.
Álvarez cooled off after a hot two weeks to begin the 2022 campaign, but he's picked up the pace lately with a .317/.356/.512 slash line with 21 total bases over his last 10 games. At the beginning of the year, Álvarez said his goal was to make the Majors in 2022, and that hasn't changed.
"I just approach it day by day and I want to feel ready whenever I make it," Álvarez said. "I want to stay [in the Majors] for a while. I don't want to go up and down. I want to feel really good so I can stay there for a while."