Chris Warren knows that Aprils and Mays are easily forgotten.
Down on the farm, often it's what you do in August that leaves lasting impressions.
A thousand miles away from the heart of Red Sox Nation, the GreenJackets left fielder is on a mission to finish his third pro season with a flurry and forge an indelible mark in the minds of the Boston brass.
Warren went 4-for-4 with three doubles Wednesday, leading the Jackets to an 8-3 victory over the embattled Columbus RedStixx at steamy Lake Olmstead Stadium.
"The last few weeks is what they're going to remember," said Warren, who headlined the Jackets' 14-hit barrage, sparking a second straight win over the last-place RedStixx. "That's what's going to make or break you going into next season."
The native of North Carolina batted .307 in April and May, and earned a start in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game in June. But he slumped badly, batting just .167 in June and .243 in July.
Warren knows he needs a strong finish to put the finishing touches on what has been a memorable year.
"It was nice to do good in the first half and make the All-Star team, but I know you have to have a great second half, or at least a great last month," Warren said.
With nine hits in his past 19 at-bats, the 23-year-old is on his way to accomplishing his goal. With his second four-hit game this season, he raised his average to .266.
Leadoff man Lew Ford, who entered the night leading Hickory's J.R. House in the race for the South Atlantic League batting title, went 2-for-4 to raise his average to .336.
Stephen Minus, Kelly Ramos and Freddy Sanchez also had two hits apiece for the Jackets (26-20), who began the day in second place in the Southern Division, four games behind the red-hot Savannah Sand Gnats.
Starter Anastacio Martinez struggled with his command, but his stuff was good enough to limit the RedStixx to two runs and five hits in 5 1/3 innings and record a victory to improve his record to 7-6. Martinez pitched behind most of the night and walked five batters, but he also struck out eight Stixx.
"His stuff was definitely good, and his curveball might have been the best curve he's had all season," Jackets pitching coach Bob Kipper said. "I think overall it was a solid outing, but he had a lot of deep counts and didn't command his fastball like he's capable of."
Reliever Rodney Dickinson certainly has been in command since joining the Jackets late last month out of the independent Northern League.
The Fairburn, Ga., native, whose contract was purchased by the Red Sox from the St. Paul (Minn.) Saints, took over for Martinez in the sixth and continued to impress. Although the 25-year-old right-hander surrendered his first earned run as a Jacket, he allowed just two hits, struck out five batters and didn't issue a walk in 2 2/3 innings.
In 11 1/3 innings since joining the club, Dickinson has allowed just 10 hits and one walk while fanning 16 batters.
Columbus (14-32), which won the Southern Division first-half title, have stumbled to the worst record in the league in the second half in the wake of call-ups at the all-star break.
The frustrations are mounting for RedStixx manager Ricky Gutierrez, who was ejected in the sixth inning after arguing with home plate umpire Josh Rees after Rees called Jackets catcher Kelly Ramos safe on a play at the plate.
After Ford singled through the middle, RedStixx center fielder Alex Requena charged hard and delivered a strike to catcher Victor Martinez. The throw had Ramos by four steps, but Rees ruled that Martinez missed the tag.
Following a heated exchange, where the two went nose to nose, Rees tossed Gutierrez.
Reach Rob Mueller at (706) 823-3425 or email@example.com.
Vs.: Columbus RedStixx (Indians)
Where: Lake Olmstead Stadium
When: 7:05 p.m.
Probable starters: Columbus -- RHP Matt Wade (1-3, 6.29 ERA); Augusta -- RHP Rick Riccobono (8-7, 3.76 ERA).
Tickets: $7, $6, $5, SeniorsChildren 4-12, Military $4.
Promotion: Thirsty Thursday -- 32 ounce beers for $2.
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