Melky Mesa stepped to the plate looking for a breaking ball.
He got it.
And he drilled it.
Mesa’s two-out, two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth gave the Buffalo Bisons a 5-4 win over the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders on Friday at Coca-Cola Field.
“I’m just looking for something to get my job done,” Mesa said. “I got a good pitch, a hanging breaking ball and I did what I’m supposed to do with that ball so I’ll take that.”
Funny thing was, he nearly provided the same dramatics in the seventh inning, drilling a two-out, two-on shot about 400 feet to dead center field. That home run came up just short.
He didn’t make the same mistake with his shot that cleared the 371-foot wall in left-center field in the ninth.
“I hit that one better. The one before I hit better, but that was the long part of the field,” Mesa said. “I’ll take that. It’s better something to nothing.”
There has certainly been something about Mesa over the last week. He is on a six-game hitting streak, batting .379 (11 for 29) with four multi-hit games while driving in eight runs.
Friday night he struck out in the third and sixth before putting better swings on pitches.
“He’s swinging the bat real well,” manager Gary Allenson said. “He kinda likes to get a couple of strikeouts out of the way early there and then get to hitting and if he keeps doing it that’s fine with me.”
The center fielder from the Dominican Republic came up through the New York Yankees organization where he once was a top prospect. He hit a career-high 23 home runs in 2012 in the Yankees system and has been a three-time minor league All-Star.
He played parts of two seasons with the Yankees but was released by the organization at the end of the 2013 season. Kansas City signed him to a minor league deal but by May of 2014 he was acquired by the Toronto Blue Jays and played last season in Double-A New Hampshire and with the Bisons.
Mesa started 2015 with the FisherCats and is on his second promotion to the Herd.
Roster moves, most notably the demotion of outfielder Dalton Pompey to Double-A, created an opportunity for Mesa to move from bench player to everyday player. That more than anything has made all the difference.
“Melky, since he’s gotten some regular playing time and since he’s been leading off, he’s been a big spark plug for us,” Allenson said. “When you’re a part-time guy off the bench, you swing and miss a lot of breaking balls. In the last week, he’s hitting about everything. If you make a good pitch on him, a good breaking ball is tough on anybody. But if they make a mistake he hits it very hard.”