Torii Hunter is of a rare breed
Updated: June 14, 2009, 6:28 PM ETBy Buster Olney
Torii Hunter's three-homer game Saturday is a rarity. He is the 11th player in Angels history to hit three home runs in a game and the first since Garret Anderson accomplished the feat in 2003. He is one of only two MLB players to do so in interleague play. Kendry Morales and Jeff Mathis also homered for the Angels. For Mathis, it was his first home run since Aug. 6, 2008. Joe Saunders pitched 8 1/3 innings and allowed one earned run in the Angels' 9-1 win after allowing 10 earned runs in his previous two starts. For the Padres, Kevin Kouzmanoff hit his second home run in as many games, while Adrian Gonzalez went 0-for-4 and is now 1-for-14 in his past four games. The Padres have a 4-17 record in their past 21 road games. In the past five seasons, only four other players have hit three solo home runs in a game: Alfonso Soriano in 2007 (for the Cubs versus the Braves), Nick Markakis in 2006 (for the Orioles versus the Twins), Jonny Gomes in 2005 (for the Rays versus the Royals) and Hee Seop Choi in 2005 (for the Dodgers versus the Twins). Only two other Angels hitters have done this: Wally Joyner (on Oct. 3, 1987, versus Cleveland) and Carney Lansford (on Sept. 1, 1979, at Cleveland). Hunter had a very good day, Mike DiGiovanna writes.
Other Saturday notebook items• Justin Verlander, Edwin Jackson and Rick Porcello have combined for a 2.93 ERA for the Tigers this season. The other pitchers who have started games for the Tigers, such as Armando Galarraga, Saturday's losing pitcher? A combined six wins, 12 losses and 5.94 ERA. • The Cubs have scored only 73 runs in their past 24 games and have gone 8-16 during that stretch. • The Rockies are feeling pretty good about themselves, writes Patrick Saunders. These Rockies pass the toughness test, writes Troy Renck. Their staff ERA during this hot stretch is 2.70.
Moves, deals and decisions1. The Nationals have been having the discussion about when to fire manager Manny Acta for weeks, and there really hasn't been an "if" part of this equation. The roster has been nothing short of dysfunctional, and the pitching has been consistently thin. Whether Acta was fired two weeks ago or last week or whether he gets fired today, nobody knows how good a manager he is because the teams he has worked with have been nothing short of awful. But there are players in the clubhouse who have tuned him out, which is hardly a surprise, given that the team has been losing roughly three out of every four games. Acta has never gotten a fair shot, and yet it's understandable why the Nationals want to make a change, so Nats bench coach Jim Riggleman -- a Maryland native -- could alter the tenor around the team. The Nationals wanted to make sure they got past the MLB draft before making a coaching change to allow the hopeful news of selecting pitcher Stephen Strasburg in the draft to get full and unfettered play. The issue of whether Acta will be fired has been brought up by the media just about every day, Nationals president Stan Kasten says. The Nationals lost again on a day when outfielder Josh Willingham lost his brother in a car accident. To read the rest of Buster's blog, including some ideas on when John Smoltz may return and what impact he'll make, a look at how Nolan Ryan's philosophy is shaping the Rangers and an incredible story about a 13-year-old boy in Ohio -- you must be an ESPN Insider.
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