CLEVELAND -- Longtime Indians fan John Adams always has his drum with him when he sits atop the left-field bleachers for games at Progressive Field. On Friday night, Adams should have brought a glove, too.
In the third inning of Cleveland's 10-2 win over the Yankees, Tribe slugger Mike Napoli sent a pitch from Chad Green towering deep to left, where it sailed high over the bleachers and crashed into the top row. The baseball rattled around in the seats -- as Adams banged his drum nearby -- for a jaw-dropping home run.
Napoli's tape-measure shot was not only the longest home run of the year by an Indians hitter, but the longest ever recorded by Statcast™ for a Cleveland batter. The homer traveled 460 feet and came with an exit velocity of 107 miles per hour, giving the Indians' first baseman 18 home runs on the season.
The homer stirred memories of another famous blast to the bleachers.
On April 30, 1997, Mark McGwire crushed a pitch from Indians righty Orel Hershiser over the bleachers and off a large sign that used to sit below the old scoreboard. Napoli's homer landed just shy of the area that McGwire reached, landing below the new video board that was installed behind the stands this season at Cleveland's home ballpark.
How Napoli's homer compares to McGwire's shot off the Budweiser sign in '97:
"I got a pitch up in the zone. I swing hard. Just caught it perfect," Napoli said. "To be honest, you really don't feel it off the bat. You just, I don't know. I can't really explain it."
Indians manager Terry Francona could not explain it, either.
"Wow," Francona said. "I mean, I don't know how you hit a ball that far."
Napoli's home run was the 21st longest in the Majors this year, according to Statcast™.
The homer was the fourth in a series of five in the win for the Indians, who also had Carlos Santana, Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall go yard against Green in the first inning. Santana's game-opening blast was his fourth leadoff homer of the year, and its 110-mph exit velocity represented his hardest-hit long ball of the season.
That first-inning derby marked the first time since Sept. 16, 1998, that Cleveland had a trio of homers in the opening inning of a game. In that game nearly two decades ago, Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome and Richie Sexson accomplished the feat.
Kipnis cleared the fence for the Indians a second time in the seventh, when he drilled a pitch from Yankees reliever Anthony Swarzak to deep right. It marked Kipnis' first multi-homer game since July 18, 2014, and the shot gave the Indians a season-high five home runs. Cleveland had not hit at least five homers in a game since June 9, 2014, against the Rangers.
"They go out there and get four runs in the first inning," Indians starter Corey Kluber said. "That's a nice cushion, but they just kept pouring it on. They didn't really stop. Those are fun games to be a part of in the dugout."
Asked about Napoli's long home run, Kluber smiled.
"I was in the dugout for it. That was impressive," Kluber said. "I don't know if I've seen any hit further up the bleachers than that one."
During the game, Napoli snuck into the video room to watch his shot.
It won't be the last time he watches it.
"I'm pretty sure I'll look at it again tonight," he said. "It's a fun moment. To be able to hit a ball like that, it's something cool."
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.