Homer Simpson's magic bat has nothing on the stick Michael Cuddyer carried to the plate yesterday afternoon.
The Edmonton Trapper has banged out some impressive homers in his first Triple-A season, but nothing close to the mighty wallop he belted in the third inning off Fresno's Luis Estrella. It was a fence-rocket like no other ever seen at Telus Field.
Cuddyer's bomb not only cleared the 34-foot-high Green Monster in straightaway centre field, it soared higher than the flagpoles and carried into the power plant lot behind the ballpark.
The grand achievement - a 500-foot blast - was only the third to make it over the far-off batter's eye.
After a seven-year dry spell, Monster Madness has struck the Trap as they have now bashed two over the imposing wall - Cuddyer's job following a poke by Todd Sears back on May 20 against Oklahoma.
It was the key blow as the Trap extended their winning streak to five games with a 9-3 verdict over the Grizzlies before a crowd of 6,284.
"It takes a good bolt to get it out of there. We all think Todd got lucky. It was kind of a fluke," laughed Cuddyer, who's now slammed 14 homers this season - and done what recently promoted slugger Matthew LeCroy couldn't do except in batting practice.
PRETTY GOOD SINKERS
"(Estrella) got me out with a couple of pretty good sinkers in the first at-bat so I was looking for that first pitch, and fortunately he got it up and I was able to put a good swing on it and get it up in the air."
The Trappers scored two in the first inning and Cuddyer chipped in with an RBI on a fielder's choice in the fourth for a 5-1 lead.
Not wanting to be badly outdone by the highly regarded prospect, Casey Blake flexed his home-run swing in the eighth against Fresno reliever Jeff Verplancke.
Blake's bash was a three-run shot that sailed just inside the left-field foul pole and well beyond.
"Oh, he outdoes me every day and I just had to do something," smiled Blake.
Blake and his teammates were also able to watch a second consecutive strong outing courtesy of the Trap's pitching staff.
Scott Randall (6-0) scattered four hits over 5 2/3 innings before leaving with a tight groin.
The right-hander gave up just one run and got 12 groundball outs.
"He's been a very effective," said Trap skipper John Russell.
"He's the kind of guy we've looked at every start and been able to count on throwing the ball well. He's been a big pickup guy for our staff."
As for Cuddyer's rip, Russell enjoyed the view.
"He's like a lot of guys we have in this lineup. They're aggressive and that's what we like," Russell noted.
Some solid pitching. Lots of firepower.
It's all the necessary ingredients for a club to take advantage of a long homestand and make a charge for first place in the division.
GOTTA BE REAL HUMBLE
"We've got it going right now, but everyone knows baseball's the type of game where you've got to be real humble," said Blake.
"We have to keep working hard and hopefully we'll keep getting the good timing like we've had.
"It's nice to be in a locker room like this because no one lets you get too high or too confident.
''We keep each other in check."
Estrella (3-8) was roughed up for six runs on 11 hits in 6 2/3 innings.
TRAP CAP: The two teams meet again tonight at 7:05 ... The third call-up of the season for Matthew LeCroy, last year's MVP for the Trappers, should be his last, according to John Russell. "I don't think he has to go and tear it up, but if he does what he's capable of doing, I don't think we'll see him back, which is good for him."