CHICAGO - Orioles third baseman Manny Machado today became the 16th player in team history to hit three home runs in a game. He also became the second player in Major League history to hit three home runs in each of the first three innings as the Orioles beat Chicago 10-2 at U.S. Cellular Field.
Machado hit a two-run homer off James Shields in the first inning and added a three-run blast off Shields in the second. When he connected for a two-run shot off former Oriole Matt Albers in the third inning, he already had tied the team homer record and already had a career-high seven RBIs.
With three more shots to tie the MLB record of four homers in a game, Machado bounced into a double play in the fifth, lined out to center in the seventh and grounded out in the ninth.
The homer barrage came at a time when his bat had cooled off in recent weeks. He had hit just four homers his last 36 games and was batting .227 in 30 games since July 1. But today he became the ninth player in MLB history to homer in three consecutive innings.
And yes, he was certainly thinking of adding a fourth.
“I was trying,” Machado said. “I was trying. Not going to lie. The pitchers came out there. I get lucky sometimes and sometimes they make great pitches. So, they made three good pitches that I wasn’t able to get out. But I was trying. I was trying real hard.
“It was awesome. Anytime you hit a home run it’s great. So it’s something you just have to play every day and make good contact swings. It hasn’t been the greatest of the last couple of weeks trying to find my swing. Been working quite a bit in the cage and outside so finally some work paid off today.”
Machado had 22 homers at game time and has 25 now with 67 RBIs. His first home run went 417 feet, his second, a line drive homer to left, went 369 feet and the third traveled 402 feet and came on an 0-2 pitch from Albers.
I asked starting and winning pitcher Dylan Bundy what went on in the dugout when Machado hit No. 3.
“Wow. I think that’s really what I said. I saw it go out, and it’s impressive what he can do. I hope he does it for a long time,” Bundy said.
Machado is the first Oriole to hit three in a game since Chris Davis on May 20, 2014 at Pittsburgh. This was his second multi-homer game of the year and eighth of his career.
Machado was asked about the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez after today’s game. It was announced earlier today that he is about to end his playing career. Machado has known Rodriguez since he was 16.
“I mean he’s a mentor to me,” Machado said. “I’ve known him for a long time. So to see him go up there and talk and leave it there, it’s a tough situation. As his friend I know he eats, sleeps and bleeds baseball. So for him to make that decision, I know it wasn’t easy. It wasn’t easy for his family. But I am always going to be there for him. He’s had a great career and he’s going out on top. Just a little disappointing to see that he is not going to be on the same field anymore.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter reacted to Machado’s big day and hopes two big games on offense this weekend will get the Orioles’ bats going again.
“Nothing really surprises us anymore,” Showalter said. “We just kind of look at each other and go hmm, not that easy. The game slows down for him sometimes and he does things that not many people do. So, get a good seat for it, shut your mouth and try to enjoy it. That’s what I do.
“We knew our guys were not going to be able to continue on the pace they were on. But we also knew at some point kind of get it going back the other way. Hopefully this is a start. We caught their pitching on their heels a little bit today. They are better than that,” he said.
The first and only player other than Machado to homer in each of the first three innings was Carl Reynolds of the White Sox on July 2, 1930. The last player to homer in three consecutive innings was Kevin Mench of Texas on June 30, 2005.
Today he produced the 19th game of seven or more RBIs in Orioles history and he is one of 14 players to do that. The last was Nelson Cruz on Sept. 7, 2014 against Tampa Bay.
Here is the list of Orioles to homer three times in a game: Boog Powell (three times), Eddie Murray (three times), Curt Blefary, Paul Blair, Bobby Grich, Don Baylor, Dan Ford, Lee Lacy, Juan Beniquez, Randy Milligan, Cal Ripken Jr., Roberto Alomar, Albert Belle, Nick Markakis and Chris Davis (two times).