A’s rookie Jordan Diaz makes history with 3 homers
Jordan Diaz becomes first Colombian with three homers in an MLB game
Oakland A’s rookie Jordan Diaz became more comfortable at the plate with each subsequent at-bat Tuesday night in the Bronx. By the time he was done, he had peppered Yankee Stadium with three home runs and made baseball history.
In only the 30th game of his career, Diaz accomplished what no other Colombian had done in the majors. Diaz, 22, became the first native of Colombia to hit three home runs in a major league game.
“Every at-bat I was kind of getting a better feeling,” Diaz told the media in New York through an interpreter. “Every at-bat I was feeling better and better. I was also seeing the ball better. Every at-bat I was more comfortable.”
Surprising power display
The native of Monteria, Colombia, had one career big league home run before his magical performance. He collected his first on April 21 in Arlington, Texas, against the Rangers’ Will Smith.
Diaz hit three more in a 10-5 loss to the Yankees. Trailing 5-1, Diaz hit Clarke Schmidt’s 1-2 offering to left field for a solo homer in the fourth.
Diaz hit another solo shot to left field off Albert Abreu in the seventh inning. Diaz added a two-run homer to left in the eighth inning off Greg Weissert to cap his night.
“It’s a very special day,” Diaz told the media in New York. “I’m just really excited and happy for what happened to me today, especially here.”
The 5-foot-11, 175-pound infielder isn’t considered a slugger. He hit only 43 home runs over 1,468 at-bats in six minor league seasons. Diaz hit a pro career-high 19 home runs between Class AA Midland and Class AAA Las Vegas last year.
Modest Colombian home run marks
Moreover, Diaz had never hit three home runs in a game at any level. On one magical night in the Bronx, however, Jordan Diaz had plenty of pop in his bat. He accomplished what five-time All-Star shortstop Edgar Renteria and Orlando Cabrera never could.
Renteria is Colombia’s all-time leader in major league home runs with 140. The two-time World Series champion hit two home runs in a game seven times. But the three-time Silver Slugger Award winner never had three in a game.
Cabrera, a native of Cartagena, is second on Colombia’s all-time home run list. He hit 123 home runs over his career. Yet, he had only three games with two home runs. Gio Urshella, who has 63 homers over eight seasons so far, has hit a pair of home runs in a game twice in his career.
With Diaz’s performance Tuesday night, Colombia joins Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Panama as countries that have produced a major leaguer with a three-home run game.
Mexico’s Bobby Avila, the AL batting champion in 1954, was the first Latin American with a three-home run game in the majors on June 20, 1951. Panama’s Hector Lopez became the second on June 26, 1958. Mexican American Hall of Famer Ted Williams had a pair of three-home run games between Avila’s and Lopez’s.
Almost 72 years after the first Latin American had a three-home run game, Jordan Diaz added Colombia to that special list.
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