Home run hat tricks for Cano, DeJong, Cruz and Betts
It is easy to become desensitized to all the big home run numbers these days.
Still, this past week was pretty special.
Robinson Canó, Paul DeJong, Nelson Cruz and Mookie Betts each hit three homers in a game and they did it on consecutive days. The unprecedented streak of home run hat tricks began with Canó on Tuesday and was capped, somewhat fittingly, by Betts on Friday.
It was the fifth time in his career — one shy of the major league record — that Betts hit three homers in a game.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this was the first time in major league history there were three straight days with a three-homer game. There have now been 15 of them this season. The first three-homer game was by Paul Goldschmidt back on March 29. The longest stretch without one was 21 days, between Christian Yelich (April 15) and Justin Turner (May 7).
Only two teams this season — the Cardinals and Twins — have had more than one player pull off the feat. Cruz and Max Kepler did it for Minnesota, DeJong and Goldschmidt for St. Louis.
Only the Yankees and Pirates have been victimized more than once. New York allowed three homers to Betts and Travis d’Arnaud. Pittsburgh gave up three to DeJong and Derek Dietrich.
According to the Baseball-Reference.com play index — which includes data going back to 1908 — the most three-homer games in one season was 22 in 2001. Barry Bonds did it twice that year en route to the single-season home run record. Sammy Sosa had three three-homer games between Aug. 9 and Sept. 23. Jeromy Burnitz and Richie Sexson accomplished the feat in the same game for Milwaukee, in a September win over the eventual champion Diamondbacks.
Aside from 2001, only two other years are still ahead of 2019 on the list. There were 19 three-homer games in 2016, including two by Betts. There were 16 in 1999.
The Milwaukee Brewers have been outscored by 16 runs on the season, but they are five games over .500 and just a game out of first place in the NL Central. Milwaukee just took two of three from Chicago, winning both games in its last at-bat before the Cubs avoided a sweep by winning Sunday.
The Brewers have the third-worst ERA in the National League at 4.68. They acquired right-hander Jordan Lyles from Pittsburgh on Monday.
The Tampa Bay Rays moved pitcher Adam Kolarek from the mound to first base in a 3-2 win over Boston on Wednesday. The idea was to keep Kolarek in the game so he could return to the mound later, but the strategy caused all sorts of confusion and led Red Sox manager Alex Cora to protest the game. Cora didn’t agree with the way the umpires handled Tampa Bay’s batting order after the unusual changes to the lineup, and the game was delayed quite a bit.
Minnesota turned a 5-4-3 triple play against the Yankees last Monday night on Edwin Encarnación’s grounder. Luis Arraez stepped on third and threw to second baseman Jonathan Schoop, who relayed to first. The plays at second and first were both close, making this defensive gem even more impressive.
LINE OF THE WEEK
Any of those three-homer games would be a reasonable choice here, but Canó gets bonus points because his home runs accounted for all of New York’s scoring in a 5-2 win over San Diego.
Follow Noah Trister at www.Twitter.com/noahtrister