STOCKTON -- For an encore, Sean Doolittle will stroll over to the Micke Grove Zoo and talk to the animals.
There's nothing more the folks in Stockton could have asked for from their first baseman Friday night, not after Doolittle had four hits, finished a double short of the cycle, scored three runs and drove home five in Stockton's 9-1 victory over the Modesto Nuts.
Doolittle, the 41st player taken in last June's draft, showed why he's considered one of the top prospects on the Stockton roster. The other is Henry Rodriguez, a right-hander already on Oakland's 40-man roster, who held the Nuts to one run on three hits and fanned eight in five innings of work.
"The cycle was on my mind a little bit," said Doolittle, who was a standout infielder and pitcher at the University of Virginia. "It's something you can't try for, and I was just trying to get a knock in my last at-bat and get on base. It's only the second game of the season so maybe I'll get it later in the year."
The chance to witness Doolittle and Rodriguez together in the Ports' lineup for the first time was enough to warrant a scheduled visit from Oakland general manager Billy Beane.
Beane, however, was a late scratch, and he missed quite the show.
Archie Gilbert, who was inserted in the Ports' lineup late when outfielder Richie Robnett displayed flu symptoms, homered on the first pitch thrown by Nuts' starter Aneury Rodriguez. Two batters later, Doolittle launched a two-run shot to left-center for a 3-0 Stockton lead.
The Ports would get one more run in the second and two more in the third to make it 6-0 before Modesto changed pitchers.
The Nuts' lone run came in the fourth inning, when Jay Cox singled, Mike McKenry doubled and Victor Ferrante hit an RBI grounder to second base. Cox and McKenry had two hits apiece to account for nearly all of Modesto's five-hit attack. Anthony Jackson reached base four times on a single and three walks and stole two bases, but was left stranded all four times.
Modesto starter Rodriguez never seemed to get comfortable on the mound, and left after three innings having allowed six runs on six hits, including two home runs.
Andrew Graham allowed two runs (one earned) in two innings of relief, and Zach Simons finished with three innings on the mound, allowing one unearned run on three hits.
Doolittle was the designated "double-double" batter, which meant fans would receive a two-patty hamburger from In-N-Out Burger if Doolittle stroked a double in any of his at-bats.
As it turned out, a double was the only kind of hit he failed to collect.
"It would have been nice to get one of those burgers," said Doolittle, a native of New Jersey -- White Castle burger country. "I haven't had one yet but they talk them up so I have to try one."