Rox rookie sets record; Cards' pinch-hitters prevail; three hit slams
By Chad Thornburg
Home runs were in the air Friday as the day's 14 Major League games featured an impressive display of power. It all added up to a memorable day at the plate as two home run records fell and three players hit grand slams.
Colorado rookie Trevor Story was, of course, at the center of it, homering twice in a 13-6 loss to the Padres at Coors Field.
In doing so, the 23-year-old shortstop became the first player in Major League history to homer in each of his first four career games. He now has six home runs in 19 career at-bats.
"Never would've thought that I'd start out like this, but it's been great so far," Story said.
Story also joined Chris Davis (2013), Nelson Cruz (2011), Mark McGwire (1998) and Willie Mays (1971) as the only players to accomplish the feat in his team's first four games of a season. If Story stays hot at the plate and homers again Saturday, he'll be in sole possession of the record at five consecutive games.
"I thought Todd Helton came back," teammate Carlos Gonzalez said. "Helton was the greatest player in team history. But he's doing something that not even the greatest player in our history has done."
The Cardinals made history of their own Friday, hitting three pinch-hit home runs in the same game for the first time ever. Aledmys Diaz, Jeremy Hazelbaker and Greg Garcia came off the bench to homer in three consecutive innings as St. Louis mounted a comeback against in Atlanta for a 7-4 win, their first of the season.
"Obviously, we needed a spark," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "We talked kind of going through the winter about our bench and how there was a little more thump. I don't think those were the three guys we were talking about, though. ... Every time they get in there it's a big situation for them because they are still establishing themselves. It was the right timing. It couldn't have been better."
The previous record for a single game was two, shared by a number of teams. The most recent instance was on Sept. 14, 2011, when Detroit's Ryan Raburn and Alex Avila hit ninth-inning pinch-hit homers against the White Sox's Chris Sale and Sergio Santos.
"It was really wild," Garcia said. "You never know what you're going to see at the baseball park."
While not historically unprecedented, three more players got in on the long ball fun with grand slams Friday. Toronto's Josh Donaldson, Boston's Brock Holt and Pittsburgh's Starling Marte each went deep with the bases loaded.
It's the first time three were hit on the same day since Sept. 26, 2015, according to Elias Sports Bureau, but it's still well shy of the record of six, set on May 21, 2000.
Donaldson and Holt hit their grand slams in the same game, which Boston rallied from five runs down to win, 9-7, at Rogers Centre. It was the first career grand slam for Holt and the second for Donaldson, whose first was with the A's on June 7, 2013, against the White Sox.
"First game back at home, it's nice to be able to do something like that," Donaldson said. "At the end of the day, we lost the game so there's no really small victories."
Marte's four-run blast erased the Pirates' three-run deficit in the eighth inning and put them ahead for a 6-5 win over the Reds at Great American Ball Park.
"We were talking about it before. Like, 'It'd be a good time for the first homer as a team,'" Bucs shortstop Jordy Mercer said. "Sure enough, he popped one, and we started jumping up and screaming. We knew right away it was gone. You could tell by the way he hit and it sounded."
To put a cap on the night, the Giants notched a come-from-behind, 3-2 victory in the 10th against the division-rival Dodgers, thanks to a pair of timely homers.