Brandon Lowe (TB): 3-5, 3 HR, 3 R, 7 RBI.
Lowe captured all the attention on Saturday afternoon, going 3-for-5—all of which left the yard—as the Yankees kicked off a day of baseball by getting their teeth kicked by Tampa Bay. Lowe welcomed Jordan Montgomery to his final regular-season start by hammering a two-out, three-run homer in the top of the first.
Lowe wasn’t done. After the Yankees chipped into the Rays’ lead on Anthony Rizzo’s solo blast, he put the Yankees lead for the top Wild Card slot firmly in a coffin with yet another three-run homer in the third, which was immediately followed by Mike Zunino putting up what was to that point Tampa Bay’s only non-Lowe run.
That one bumped Tampa Bay’s win probability all the way up to 90%, and when Gio Urshela got one back for the Yankees, Lowe responded with his third shot of the game, which, like the first two, was hooked deep into the right-field seats. It’s the sixth multi-homer game of Lowe’s career, his fourth in 2021, and his first-ever three-homer game. His seven runs batted in are also a single-game best, as were his twelve total bases.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Saturday
Jonah Heim (C, TEX): 1-2, HR, R, 3 RBI, 2 BB.
Heim was the back-breaker for the Rangers last night as they reached the 60-win threshold against Cleveland, winning 7-2. Heim walked twice and hit a critical two-out, two-strike home run against Triston McKenzie in the fourth inning that gave Texas a permanent lead. Heim has just a 60 wRC+ in 262 plate appearances as a rookie this season.
Mike Zunino (C, TB): 3-5, HR, 2 R, RBI.
Zunino capped off the best season of his career with his 33rd home run against the Yankees and scoring another time, accounting for most of the Rays offense that wasn’t Brandon Lowe. He’s been worth 4.6 fWAR in just 370 plate appearances, more than a hundred fewer than when he accumulated the same amount in 2017.
George Springer (OF, TOR): 4-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Springer led the charge for the Blue Jays as they answered the Rays’ call with a raucous 10-1 win over the Orioles, coming a triple short of the cycle and driving in three. His home run was largely a product of the wind, a drifting 93 MPH hooked fly ball to left field in the second inning that left the yard at just 357 feet, with an expected batting average of .110. His eighth-inning double against Spenser Watkins, on the other hand, was well-earned, shooting off at 108 MPH and landing 371 feet deep in the right-center field gap.
Trayce Thompson (OF, CHC): 3-4, HR, R, 4 RBI.
Appearing in the Majors for the first time since 2018, Thompson hit his fourth homer and drove in his sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth runs in just his fourteenth game with a Cubs team that probably would have been pretty dismayed back in April if they knew that Trayce Thompson was playing for them in September. The 2009 second-round pick of the White Sox has 159 career minor league home runs, including 21 in 88 games this season for Triple-A Iowa.
Yoan Moncada (3B, CWS): 3-4, 2 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Moncada had one of his best performances of an uneven 2021 season on Saturday night, doubling twice and tagging Kyle Funkhouser for a go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth inning to cap off a 5-4 comeback victory for the White Sox. Moncada wraps up his age-26 season with 4.4 fWAR and a .276/.377/.413 batting line, offsetting perhaps a moderately disappointing batting line with outstanding defense and a knack for big hits.
Randy Arozarena (OF, TB): 3-4, 2B, 2 R, 2 BB, 2 SB.
Arozarena capped off the charge for Tampa Bay as well as his own Rookie of the Year campaign, coming a homer short of a combo meal but doubling up on runs scored, walks, and steals, bringing his wRC+ on the season to 129, leading all rookies with at least 300 plate appearances.
Bryan Reynolds (OF, PIT): 4-5, 2B, 3B, R, RBI.
Reynolds continues to potentially play himself out of Pittsburgh, coming up a homer short of the cycle amid his third four-hit game of 2021. He’s been worth north of 5.5 WAR according to both FanGraphs and Baseball Reference, and with three years of team control remaining entering his age-27 season, a potential trade haul might be simply too much for the ever-rebuilding Pirates to resist sending him to a would-be contender.
Oneil Cruz (SS, PIT): 2-5, R, RBI.
Cruz showed up to play in his big league debut, singling twice and scoring and driving in his first career run in the Pirates’ 8-6 win over the Reds. The 6’7″ shortstop batted .310/.375/.594 across 302 plate appearances split between Double- and Triple-A this season, homering 17 times and picking up 19 steals. He figures to make a solid charge at a starting job in Pittsburgh this coming spring.
Mitch Haniger (OF, SEA): 4-5, R, 5 RBI.
Haniger almost single-handedly saved the Mariners season, going 4-for-5 including two crucial go-ahead hits, a fifth-inning two-run homer (his 39th), and a memorable two-run single to take the lead in the eighth. It caps off an incredible comeback season for Haniger, in which he’s played 157 games, driving in 100 with a 122 wRC+.
Featured Imaged by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter)