A lot of history was made on Saturday north of the border in the MLB's highest-scoring game of the season. The Toronto Blue Jays hit eight home runs, two shy of their franchise and major-league record 10 set back in 1987 against Baltimore.
The biggest story of the 17-11 win for the Jays over the Tampa Bay Rays was a player making his major-league debut. J.P. Arencibia had 31 HR in 379 AB at Triple-A Las Vegas this season before being called up Wednesday when John Buck (right thumb) went on the 15-day DL. The 24-year old was the 21st overall pick in the 2007 draft and Arencibia made the most of his day at the plate, hitting two HR, including one off of the first pitch he ever saw as a big leaguer. He's the second player to do that this season, the other being Boston's Daniel Nava on June 12.
Arencibia is the 6th player in the last 30 seasons to have 4+ hits in his MLB debut, and the second this season joining Wilson Ramos, then of the Twins. He is also the first player with 2+ HR in his MLB debut since the Royals' Mark Quinn in 1999. Both homers were on first-pitch fastballs.
2 HR in MLB Debut, All Time
The Elias Sports Bureau tells us that Arencibia is the first player in the modern era (since 1900) with four hits AND two HR in his major-league debut.
It's unfair to expect him to keep that pace up in the majors but it's worth nothing that his minor-league .639 slugging clip this season has been topped by 300-AB catchers just three times in MLB history: Javy Lopez (2003), Ivan Rodriguez (2000) and Rudy York (1937).
For those curious, his last name is pronounced "air-in-SEE-bee-uh". If he's going to become a household name, we better start learning how to say it.
Blue Jays with HR in First MLB AB
Starters to Allow 6 HR in a Game, Divisional Era (Since 1969)
And then there's James Shields, who allowed six of those Toronto homers before being pulled after four innings. Shields is just the 3rd pitcher in the Divisional Era (since 1969 when the mound was also lowered) to give up six HR in a game. Shields surpasses Rodrigo Lopez and Dan Haren for the ML HR allowed lead with 28.
Six homers are a lot. But the three NON-home runs that Shields allowed on Saturday were all doubles. Thus he gave up nine hits, ALL for extra bases. Since 1920, the Florida Marlins' Ricky Nolasco is the only other pitcher to do that (9+ H, all XBH). That was April 17, 2008, when he allowed four HR, four doubles, and a triple.
HOME RUN TRACKER
Here are the particulars on today's taters for the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
(From PitchFX and HitTracker)