If the Lexington Legends are to have a successful first-half pennant run, perhaps they will look back on Wednesday's Cinco de Mayo matinee as the game that got them on track.
Every Legends starter had at least one hit and scored at least one run en route to a 17-4 thrashing of the Kannapolis Intimidators.
"We've got a group to do a lot of good things this year," Manager Rodney Linares said. "Hopefully, this can be a turning point in the season. It's just a matter of them putting it together, because they do care a lot."
An Education Day crowd announced at 4,391 came to Applebee's Park for a 10:04 a.m. start, most hoping that the Legends could snap a six-game losing streak.
Leadoff man Jose Altuve led a 20-hit attack with four hits, going 4-for-4 through four innings. He finished 4-for-6.
"That I remember, I never did that before, but it was good — four innings, four hits," Altuve said. "The most important thing was my team won today because we needed it."
Jonathon Fixler and Grant Hogue, the 8-9 hitters, netted three hits each. J.D. Martinez, Jake Goebbert, Kody Hinze and Andy Simunic added two hits apiece.
Fixler drove in four runs, while Martinez and Jiovanni Mier each knocked in three. Altuve and Hinze scored three runs each.
That was more than enough for right-hander Tanner Bushue (2-1), who gave up four runs on 10 hits over seven innings. He struck out five and walked one.
"Not really too much," Bushue said when asked what was working best. "It was an off day, but I made the pitches that I could."
Kannapolis, which came in with a four-game winning streak, packaged four hits and a Bushue error to plate a pair of runs in the first inning.
The Legends (12-15) needed only three batters to take the lead, though. Altuve singled, Mier walked and Martinez ripped his third home run of the season.
The instant lead "was great," Bushue said. "I was a little unfocused the first inning. I just came back out — and thanks to J.D. Martinez for the three runs — and did all I could."
Lexington poured it on with four runs in the second, three in the third, fourth and seventh innings and one in the sixth.
The Intimidators (13-14) added single runs in the third and seventh innings.
Rafael Vera led a 12-hit attack, going 4-for-5, but the shortstop also committed three errors. No. 9 hitter Jake Oester, son of former Reds second baseman Ron Oester, rapped a ninth-inning single to finish 1-for-3 in his pro debut.
Kannapolis starter Justin Collop (0-3) got raked for 10 runs and 11 hits over three innings. Phil Negus, the third of five Intimidators pitchers, left after facing one batter because of an injury in the elbow area.
No such problems for the Legends, though.
"They just have to have fun out there," Linares said. "It looks like we've been pressing a little bit for the last week or 10 days. We've had some injuries — we had (outfielder Brian) Kemp go down early in the year and he was kind of the guy that kept them loose out there. The other guys, they're really trying.
"But after (Tuesday) night's game (an 8-1 loss) we had a little talk with the guys and set them down. I told them, 'We're better than that. I've said it from the beginning of the year, we're better than every team that we've faced. We've just got to put it together.'"
Perhaps Wednesday was the first step.