Digging the long ball: Arizona’s Martinez hits 4 home runs
LOS ANGELES (AP) Hall of Famers Willie Mays, Lou Gehrig and Mike Schmidt did it. So did All-Star sluggers Josh Hamilton, Carlos Delgado and Gil Hodges.
Add J.D. Martinez’s name to the list of players with four home runs in a game.
Martinez’s power show tied a major league record and jolted Dodger Stadium on a warm, unusually muggy Monday night. He struck out his first time up for Arizona, and then connected four times in a row in the Diamondbacks’ 13-0 victory, including the seventh, eighth and ninth innings.
”It’s one of those things where, when you work really hard, you kind of just find that perfect swing,” the Cuban outfielder said.
Martinez became the 18th player in big league history to accomplish the feat and first for Arizona. He is the 16th overall to do it since 1900 – Scooter Gennett of the Cincinnati Reds hit four straight homers on June 6 against St. Louis.
”You can’t believe it after it keeps happening – second, third and finally the fourth time. It was amazing,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. ”J.D. works as hard as anybody at his swing, perfecting his craft, and he deserves that moment.”
Martinez hit a two-run homer in the fourth off Rich Hill. At an estimated 436 feet, it was his longest of the night. He belted solo drives off Pedro Baez in the seventh and Josh Fields in the eighth.
”He was on everything,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. ”He’s got big power.”
Going into the ninth, Martinez was due up fifth. After three batters reached safely, Martinez stepped to the plate with history only one swing away.
”There’s no point trying to force it,” he said. ”Just go up there and have a good at-bat. That’s what I was telling myself.”
His mindset worked, unlike in 2015.
Back then, Martinez hit three homers in a game and walked to the plate for his final at-bat thinking about a fourth. It didn’t happen.
Martinez capped his huge night by pulling a two-run homer to left field off Wilmer Font, tying his career high with six RBIs. Arizona finished with six homers in its 11th straight win.
”I thought there was no way they were going to throw him something he could hit,” winning pitcher Robbie Ray said. ”But sure enough he got a ball right where he wanted it and he put it in the seats.”
Martinez has 34 home runs this season, 18 since being traded from Detroit to the Diamondbacks in mid-July for minor leaguers. He has six multihomer games in his career, including five this season.
The 30-year-old hit a career-high 38 homers for the Tigers in 2015 when he made the AL All-Star team.
”He’s been incredible,” Hill said. ”You can tell he’s a guy who puts his time and effort into his craft.”
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