Randy Arozarena Becomes First MLB Player to Hit Nine Home Runs in Single Postseason

Randy Arozarena is still making history…

The 25-year-old Cuban professional baseball outfielder and Tampa Bay Rays rookie has become the first player to hit nine home runs in a single postseason after taking Los Angeles Dodgers starter Julio Urias deep to right field in the fourth inning of Game 4 of the World Series on Saturday night.

Randy Arozarena

Arozarena already holds the rookie hit record for a single postseason, set in Game 3, while breaking a four-way tie for most home runs.

Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager also homered in Game 4 and has eight this postseason.

Arozarena later scored the winning run on Brett Phillips‘ walk-off single, as the Rays beat the Dodgers 8-7 in Game 4 to even the World Series at two games apiece.

Arozarena actually fell down rounding third base, but after Dodgers catcher Will Smith couldn’t handle the relay throw, the Rays’ rookie was able to make it home with the winning run.

Randy Arozarena

“All I was thinking about was just running hard,” Arozarena said through an interpreter. “Running hard as I could. Once I got to a certain spot, I saw that the ball got bobbled. I got sent home. I tripped. … I was actually trying to get back to third base because I knew we had already tied the game so, if anything, I was just trying to get in a rundown. Then, I saw the ball get past him, so I turned around and scored.”

Arozarena also holds the record for total bases in a single postseason. He singled to lead off the sixth inning Saturday night, tying Pablo Sandoval for most hits by any player in one postseason.

The 2020 playoffs featured an extra round, meaning Arozarena is playing in his 18th playoff game already.

Nelson Cruz, Carlos Beltran and Barry Bonds are the three other players — along with Seager — to hit eight home runs in a single postseason.

Pete Alonso Hits 52nd Homer to Tie Aaron Judge’s MLB Rookie Home Run Record

Pete Alonsois one homer away from making history on his own…

The 24-year-old part-Spanish American New York Metsslugger hit his 52nd homer of the season, tying New York Yankees star Aaron Judge‘s total from 2017 for most by a rookie.

Alonso lined an 0-1 fastball from Atlanta Bravesleft-hander Dallas Keuchelnarrowly over the wall in left field in the first inning Friday night. He smiled as he hurried around the bases and pointed to the home fans as he crossed the plate. Teammates greeted him with handshakes outside the dugout, and the crowd at Citi Fieldinsisted on a curtain call.

“Unbelievable. When I was rounding the bases I felt like a little kid. I felt like a 7-year-old kid,” Alonso said. “I was just really kind of overcome with pure joy and emotion. I don’t think I’ve had a happier time in my life playing baseball. That is the ultimate. That’s what dreams are made of. It’s unbelievable that it happened. I still can’t believe it happened.”

Keuchel was booed when he walked Alonso in the third inning, and the big slugger popped up and struck out in his final two at-bats. The Mets won 4-2.

Alonso leads the CincinnatiReds’ Eugenio Suarezby three for the majors’ home run lead and would be the first rookie since at least 1900 to claim the big league crown outright. Manager Mickey Callawaysaid he might bat Alonso leadoff in the final two games to get him extra at-bats, and Alonso was eager to slide up a spot.

A history major in college with “an affinity for that kind of stuff,” Alonso said he’s struggling to comprehend the accomplishment.

“When I think of baseball history, I think old-timey guys like Lou GehrigBabe RuthBarry Bonds,” Alonso said. “Geez, I mean, to think that as a rookie I hit more homers than everyone except for one guy, it’s nuts. It’s crazy. I’m not trying to sound any other way. It’s just, wow.”

Judge, who has struggled with injuries the past two seasons, has 26 homers in 100 games in 2019. He predicted late Friday night that Alonso would break the rookie record.

“No better person to share it with. He’s eventually going to break it, I know that for sure,” Judge said. “Happy for him. I had a chance to meet him this year and talk to him a little bit, and no better individual to represent not only the Mets but the city of New York. He’s going to do a lot of special things over his long career. I’m excited for him. This is just the beginning for him, the first of many records he’s going to break.”

Alonso has already set franchise records for homers, total bases (343) and extra-base hits (84). He has 119 RBIs and 100 runs, becoming the first Mets rookie to reach triple digits in both categories. No New York player had reached those totals in any season since David Wrightand Carlos Beltranin 2008. The 119 RBIs put Alonso just five away from matching Wright’s all-time single-season franchise record.

“He’s been outstanding,” Callaway said. “There’s just something about Pete that draws everybody in.”

Alonso’s 52nd homer also tied him with for second-most all time in a player’s first season with a team. Alex Rodriguezhit 52 in 2001, his first season with the Texas Rangers. Babe Ruth holds the record with 54 homers for the Yankees in 1920, after he was traded from the Boston Red Sox.

New York trailed the National League East-champion Braves 2-1 after Alonso’s homer.

In a record season for home runs in the majors, Alonso’s long ball feat wasn’t the only one achieved Tuesday night. The Yankees got in on the fun when they became the second team in MLB history with 300 homers in a season. They joined the Minnesota Twins, who reached the mark on Thursday.

Ronald Acuna Jr. Hits Historic Homer to Earn a Place in MLB History

Ronald Acuna Jr. is making his MLB mark…

The 21-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball outfielder, who plays for the Atlanta Braves, has become only the third player in baseball history to hit 40 homers in a season at 21 years old or younger.

Ronald Acuna Jr.

Acuna’s historic homer came with a flourish in the third inning of Atlanta’s 5-4 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday. He launched a 432-foot drive into the second deck at SunTrust Park, standing at home plate to admire his shot off Aaron Nola before tossing the bat away and slowly rounding the bases.

Acuna was pumped to join a very exclusive club, but even more thrilled about the Braves clinching at least a tie for first place in the National League East.

“That’s the most exciting thing up to this point,” Acuna said through a translator. “That’s what we’re all looking for. I think for all of us, it’s just come out with that same energy, that same enthusiasm, get that win and hopefully celebrate. That’s something we’re all looking forward to.”

Mel Ott, who was 20 when he hit 42 homers for the New York Giantsin 1940, was the only player younger than Acuna to post a 40-homer season. Eddie Mathewsalso was 21 but about two months older than Acuna when he hit 47 homers for the Milwaukee Bravesin 1953.

Ott and Mathews are both members of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

“It feels incredible,” said Acuna, who was born December 18, 1997. “To be compared to superstars and Hall of Famers like that, especially at such a young age, wow.”

Acuna had gone five games since hitting his 39th homer.

“He might relax now and really go off,” manager Brian Snitkersaid. “That’s an unbelievable accomplishment at this stage of his career.”

Acuna is still three stolen bases shy of another milestone. He has 37 steals in his quest to become just the fifth 40-40 player in baseball history, following Jose Canseco(1988), Barry Bonds(1996), Alex Rodriguez(1998) and Alfonso Soriano(2006).

Minnesota Twins’ Slugger Nelson Cruz Hits Three Homers Against Chicago White Sox

Nelson Cruz is three times the star…

The 39-year-old Dominican professional baseball player, a slugger for the Minnesota Twins, homered three times in the first five innings against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday night, leading the Twins to a 10-3 victory.

Nelson Cruz

Cruz hit a solo drive in the first, a two-run shot in the third and another two-run homer in the fifth. It’s the first career three-homer game for the six-time All-Star, who has 385 home runs in his career.

Cruz batted again with a runner on first in the sixth and struck out swinging against Jimmy Cordero, ending the inning. He flied out to right leading off the ninth, ending the day 3-for-5 with five RBIs.

“It’s not easy,” Cruz said. “To be able to hit three is a blessing.

“The most important thing is we won and the way [Jose] Berrios pitched. At the end of the day, it’s pitching.”

Cruz went deep against All-Star Lucas Giolito on different pitches — fastball, curveball and changeup.

“He’s a good hitter,” Giolito said. “He was seeing me well.”

Cruz’s outburst followed three-homer games by New York Mets second baseman Robinson Cano on Tuesday night and St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong on Wednesday. 

According to Elias Sports Bureau research, it’s the first time in major league history there’s been a three-homer game on three consecutive days.

Cruz, who signed a $14.3 million, one-year contract with Minnesota in January, has six homers in his past four games and 25 overall this season. According to Stats LLC, he is the oldest player in major league history to hit six-plus homers in a four-game span, surpassing Barry Bonds, who hit seven in four games at age 36 in 2001.

Cruz also became the 10th player in big league history with a three-homer game after turning 39, according to Baseball Prospectus data, joining a list that includes Babe RuthStan MusialReggie Jackson, Dave WinfieldFrank Thomas and Alex Rodriguez.

“You just assume he’s done things like that,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “Those kind of nights are pretty unique and special, and when you get a chance to see them live, we all kind of enjoy them and appreciate them.”

Cruz is the only player with multiple four-game homer streaks this season. He also hit a homer in four consecutive games June 5-9, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. He is the oldest player with a three-homer game since Rodriguez did it four years ago against the Twins.

At 39 years and 24 days old, Cruz is the second-oldest player in the modern era (since 1900) with seven homers in a six-game span. Graig Nettleswas 40 years and 4 days old for the sixth game of his streak in August 1984.

Miami Marlins’ Star Giancarlo Stanton Named MLB’s National League MVP

Giancarlo Stanton is a National (League) hero…

The 28-year-old part-Puerto Rican baseball star, an outfielder for the Miami Marlins, won the National League MVP title, edging Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds in the closest vote since 1979.

Giancarlo Stanton

Stanton became only the sixth player to win from a losing team. The Marlins were 77-85.

“I’m so thankful it happened and I’m going to enjoy this and work to get better,” Stanton said on ESPN’s SportsCenter.

Stanton finished the season batting .281 with 168 hits, 59 HRs and 132 RBIs. His homer total was the most in the majors since 2001, when Barry Bonds hit a record 73 and Sammy Sosa had 64.

Stanton got 10 first-place votes and 302 points in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Votto also got 10 firsts and had 300 points.

“Just so close,” Votto said, according to MLB.com, after learning the outcome. “[I’m] really, really grateful for the support. I cannot believe how close it was. I just can’t believe coming up two points short. It’s so cool in a way coming up that short. Most of the time it’s a landslide or it’s clear. This wasn’t that. That was one of the entertaining aspects of it. Because Giancarlo and I did things so differently and because we’re both on losing clubs, it was for me a very interesting vote.”

“I don’t feel terribly disappointed, not really because I think that it was just two very, very good seasons that went head-to-head,” Votto said.

Stanton is the first player in Marlins history to win an MVP award.

He led the majors in home runs, RBI, extra-base hits and slugging percentage, each of which set a Marlins single-season record, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Votto topped the majors with a .454 on-base percentage. Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt was third in the voting.

The last player from a losing team to win an MVP was Alex Rodriguez, who took the AL award in 2003 with Texas. The last NL MVP from a losing team was Andre Dawson with the 1987 Chicago Cubs.

Stanton joins Dan Marino and LeBron James as the only Miami pro athletes in a major sport to win MVP.

“That’s definitely good company,” Stanton said.

Houston Astros’ Star Jose Altuve Named MLB’s American League MVP

Jose Altuve is an American (League) hero…

The 27-year-old Venezuelan baseball star, a second baseman for the Houston Astros, has won the American League MVP award, beating out New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge by a wide margin and capping the Astros’ championship season with another top prize.

Jose Altuve

Altuve , whos stands at 5-foot-6, received 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America

“I was surprised that I won it,” Altuve said. “I wasn’t expecting this.”

Altuve batted a Major League Baseball-best .346. He had 204 hits, 24 home runs and 81 RBIs for the World Series champion Astros.

It’s been over a decade since Altuve signed with Houston from Venezuela — only after he was sent home from one tryout and told he was too short.

“They told me not to come back,” Altuve said. “It was something me and my dad, he went with me that day, we were like, ‘We have to go again. We have to try again.'”

“It’s not a rule that you have to be 6-foot or you have to be really strong to play baseball and become a good player,” he added.

Altuve beat out a player who couldn’t be more different. The 6-foot-7 Judge won the AL Rookie of the Year award Monday. He set a rookie record with 52 home runs.

Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Indians finished third.

Altuve said on ESPN’s SportsCenter that winning the MVP has fueled him for years to come.

“Winning the MVP has made me want to keep getting better and keep helping my team for the next whatever years.”

Altuve is one of two second basemen in MLB history to hit .330 in a season with 20 home runs and 30 stolen bases, along with Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar (once). Altuve has done it in each of the past two seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Altuve is the second Astros player to win an MVP, joining Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell in 1994.

He is the third player during the wild-card era to be named his league’s MVP in the same year that his team won the World Series. The other players to do that since 1995 are Buster Posey (2012 San Francisco Giants) and Kris Bryant (2016 Chicago Cubs), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

 

Los Angeles Angels Star Albert Pujols Becomes Ninth Player to Hit 600 Home Runs

Albert Pujols has joined an elite squad…

The 37-year-old Dominican baseball star, an infielder for the Los Angeles Angels, on Saturday became the ninth Major League Baseball player to hit 600 home runs when he hit a grand slam off the Minnesota TwinsErvin Santana.

Albert Pujols

Pujols is the only player whose 600th home run was a grand slam.

The Angels designated hitter is the first player to reach 600 home runs since Jim Thome in 2011. The six-year gap between Thome’s and Pujols’ reaching the mark is the longest between players reaching 600 home runs since the 31-year gap between Hank Aaron (April 1971) and Barry Bonds (August 2002).

Among hitters with 600 home runs, only Babe Ruth (.342) had a higher career batting average than Pujols’ current .308 career mark.

Only Willie Mays and Aaron had more at-bats at the time of their 600th home runs than Pujols’ current total of 9,341.

Pujols’ overall accomplishments have been reflected in the three MLB MVP Awards he has won.

With his 600th home run, he joined Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez as the only players in major league history with three MVP Awards and 600 home runs.

Pujols (37 years, 138 days) is the fourth-youngest player to reach 600 home runs, behind Rodriguez (35 years, eight days), Ruth (36 years, 196 days) and Aaron (37 years, 81 days).

Pujols ranks second in St. Louis Cardinals history with 445 home runs, trailing Hall of Famer Stan Musial (475). They’re the only two players in Cardinals history who hit more than 300 home runs, and Pujols hit his in half as many seasons with the Cardinals as Musial. They both won three MVPs in Cardinals uniforms.

Pujols is the second player born outside of the United States to hit 600 homers. The other was Sammy Sosa, who had 609. Four of the five top non-U.S.-born home run hitters were from the Dominican Republic (Sosa, Pujols, Manny Ramírez with 555 and David Ortiz with 541). Cuban-born Rafael Palmeiro has the third-most home runs hit by a non-U.S.-born player, with 569.

Saturday’s home run was Pujols’ 78th at Angel Stadium, which ranks third for ballparks at which he has homered. The leaders are Busch Stadium (110) and Busch Stadium II (94).

Cepeda to Have Street Named After Him in San Francisco

Orlando Cepeda will see his name on a street sign soon…

The 79-year-old Puerto Rican retired first baseman, who made his Major League Baseball debut with the San Francisco Giants in April 1958, will receive a ceremonial sign for a street that will be named in his honor in the Bay City.

Orlando Cepeda

It’s all part of the redevelopment of the old Candlestick Park site.

Cepeda, a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, played for the Giants from 1958 until 1966.

During a career that lasted sixteen years, he also played with the St. Louis Cardinals, helping the team win the World Series in 1967, as well as the Atlanta Braves (1969–72), Oakland Athletics (1972), Boston Red Sox (1973), and Kansas City Royals.

Other San Francisco iconic athletes to have a name after them include San Francisco 49ers legends Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and coach Bill Walsh, as well as former Giants players Willie Mays and Barry Bonds.

Gonzalez Returning to Miami Marlins as Third-Base Coach

Fredi Gonzalez is returning to Miami…

The 52-year-old former professional baseball player and Major League Baseball manager, who was let go from the team in 2010, will return as the Miami Marlins‘ third-base coach, president of baseball operations Michael Hill confirmed Tuesday.

Fredi Gonzalez

Gonzalez was the Marlins’ manager from 2007-10. He finished with a 276-279 record and is atop the Marlins’ all-time list for managerial victories.

The Marlins were 35-36 on June 24, 2010, when owner Jeffrey Loria decided to fire Gonzalez. Loria had expressed playoffs-or-bust expectations in spring training and said “we can do better and be better” when he fired Gonzalez.

Gonzalez and Loria exchanged barbs after he was fired.

In 2012, Gonzalez told the Miami Herald that “there’s not a manager dead or alive that Jeffrey Loria thinks is good enough.” Loria responded by calling Gonzalez’s comments “classless” and saying he was a “colossal failure” as the Marlins’ manager.

In 2011, Gonzalez was named the Atlanta Braves‘ manager, replacing Bobby Cox. He posted a 434-413 record, with two playoff appearances, in Atlanta before he was fired on May 19, after the Braves started the season 9-28.

Gonzalez replaces Lenny Harris as the third-base coach. The Marlins announced after the season that Harris, hitting coach Barry Bonds and bullpen coach Reid Cornelius would not return to manager Don Mattingly‘s staff in 2017.

Mike Pagliarulo was announced as Bonds’ replacement as hitting coach. Pagliarulo was a teammate of Mattingly’s with the New York Yankees from 1984-89.

Pagliarulo will work with assistant hitting coach Frank Menechino, who was with the club last season.

The Marlins haven’t yet named a replacement for Cornelius.

Stanton Hits Record 61 Homers to Win All-Star Home Run Derby

Giancarlo Stanton is this year’s Home Run King…

The 26-year-old part-Puerto Rican baseball star put on a record display of power at Petco Park during the All-Star Home Run Derby on Monday night, peppering every landmark from the left field corner to center field.

Giancarlo Stanton

Stanton hit 20 homers in the final round to beat out defending champion Todd Frazier of the Chicago White Sox. Overall, the Miami Marlins slugger hit a record 61, shattering the single-night mark of 41 by Bobby Abreu in 2005.

Stanton’s impressive shots hit the top level of the Western Metal Supply Co. Building in the left-field corner and the top of the batter’s eye in center field.

He sent several balls just below the giant scoreboard high atop the left-field stands and several over the bullpens in left-center.

“For sure, being on the West Coast and taking the flight out here just for this, you know. I figure it’s a waste if I don’t bring this bad boy home,” Stanton said, hoisting the trophy.

The three-time All-Star is not on the National League roster for Tuesday night’s game after batting .233 with 20 homers and 50 RBIs before the break.

“I had a great time. I had a blast.”

His longest shot was estimated at 497 feet. He hit the eight longest homers of the competition and 20 of the 21 deepest drives.

“When I get a few in a row I would kind of bump it up 5 to 10 percent,” he said. “But most the time I stuck at 80-90 percent. I knew I could do it endurance-wise. I was just hoping my swing didn’t fall about.”

Stanton can defend his title at home next year when the Marlins host the All-Star Game.

“That is where I got my childhood memories, watching the Home Run Derby as a kid,” said Stanton, who’s from Los Angeles.

“Maybe some kids are watching me. I would like to return that.”

Stanton is baseball’s highest-paid player with a $325 million, 13-year deal. His new hitting coach is home run king Barry Bonds.

Stanton hit 24 homers in the first round to eliminate the Seattle MarinersRobinson Cano (seven) and 17 in the semifinals to knock out Mark Trumbo (14) of the Baltimore Orioles.

Frazier hit 13 in the first round to beat Carlos Gonzalez (12) of the Colorado Rockies, and 16 in the semifinals to eliminate Adam Duvall (15) of the Reds.