During the year-long process of fine-tuning the GreenJackets roster, the one thing Boston Red Sox farm director Kent Qualls has failed to send is power.
Through 118 games, the Jackets belted a mere 71 home runs, 10th in the 14-team South Atlantic League.
But with Qualls and several of Boston's roving instructors in town on Tuesday, the Jackets were suddenly powerful, belting three home runs in an 11-1 rout of the Asheville Tourists to open an eight-game homestand at The Lake.
Designated hitter Tony DeRosso, center fielder Tonayne Brown and first baseman Keith Hart all went deep in support of starter Marty McLeary (3-4), who tossed five innings of three-hit ball for the victory.
DeRosso finished 2-for-4 with a career-high six RBI and Brown added a pair of doubles for a 3-for-4 night.
"Some guys seem to turn it up when the front office staff is here," Jackets manager Billy Gardner said. "I think it helps the intensity and concentration a bit. It's human nature to want to do well for people who make the decision where you'll play next year."
After playing just 14 games in 1998 due to a slight tear in his left Achilles tendon, and after missing the first four months of 1999 while recovering from surgery last August, DeRosso has been doing his best lately to make up for lost time.
His fourth-inning home run -- a towering three-run shot to left field off Tourists reliever Mike Evans -- was only his second in 60 at-bats this season. But the Moultrie, Ga., is on a tear, going 5-for-13 in his last four games.
"It seems like I'm back where I need to be staying on the ball, staying back, and getting good pitches," said DeRosso, who belted 14 home runs in 357 at-bats at Double-A Trenton in 1997, his last full season.
"Obviously, my goal is to move back up in the organization, and hopefully I'll get that chance. But while I'm here, I'm going to as hard as I can and get as many hits as I can."
"He's swinging the bat well," Gardner said of the 23-year-old DeRosso. "Any time you have that type of production in the middle of the lineup, it's going to help everyone."
The pitching and defense also put on a show for Qualls and the Red Sox brass.
The Jackets turned three double plays -- including one which began with an acrobatic play by second baseman Carlos Leon -- while the bullpen finished what McLeary started, as newcomers Dan Giese and Corey Spencer and Matt Phillips combined to allow just one run on six hits in four innings.
"We're all starting to come together right now," said McLeary, who lowered his ERA to 2.10 on Tuesday. "It's always nice when you get some runs like that and that made it kind of easy tonight."
Spencer, a 23-year-old left-hander, joined the Jackets on Monday after a promotion from short-season Class A Lowell of the New York-Penn League. The Lynn, Mass., native signed with the Sox as a free-agent in June and was 1-0 with a 2.48 ERA at Lowell. Also on Monday, backup catcher Cory Whitby, who batted just .214 in 70 at-bats this season, was promoted to high Class A Sarasota.
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