Home run hat tricks for Cano, De­jong, Cruz and Betts

The Saline Courier - - SPORTS - By Noah Tris­ter

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 three­homer game. There have now been 15 of them this sea­son. The first three­homer 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 Base­ball­ref­er­ence.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 sin­gle­sea­son 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.

HANG­ING AROUND

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 2 of 3 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 righthande­r Jor­dan Lyles from Pitts­burgh on Mon­day.

CHAOS

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.

HIGH­LIGHT

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.

KATHY WILLENS/AP

Team­mates in the dugout con­grat­u­late New York Mets’ Robin­son Cano af­ter the third of Cano’s three home runs in a baseball game against the San Diego Padres, Tues­day, July 23, 2019, in New York. The last blast came against San Diego Padres re­lief pitcher Lo­gan Allen in the sev­enth in­ning. It was the first time in Cano’s long ca­reer that he has hit three home runs in one game.

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