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Last night

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, Ike Davis
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and the Mets had a game for the ages. Davis hit three homers–all of them solo shots–off of Ian Kennedy
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, but the Mets scored just 3 runs and lost to the D’backs, 6-3. So all of the Mets’ runs scored on solo homers by Davis. (Which is such a Mets thing to do.)

In the boxscore era (since 1918), Davis is just the 8th player to have a 3-homer game in which his team only scored 3 runs. Here is the full list:

Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt PA R H HR RBI WPA BOP Pos.
1 Ike Davis
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2012-07-28
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NYM
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ARI
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L 3-6 4 3 4 3 3 0.339 4 1B
2 Steve Finley
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2004-04-28
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ARI
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CHC
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L 3-4 4 3 3 3 3 0.539 5 CF
3 Eddie Murray
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1980-09-14
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BAL
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TOR
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L 3-4 6 3 4 3 3 0.750 4 1B
4 Boog Powell
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1964-06-27
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BAL
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WSA
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W 3-1 4 3 3 3 3 0.283 3 LF
5 Gus Bell
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1955-07-21
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CIN
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PHI
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L 3-5 5 3 3 3 3 0.409 3 CF
6 Hank Sauer
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1952-06-11
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CHC
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PHI
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W 3-2 4 3 3 3 3 0.335 4 LF
7 Del Wilber
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1951-08-27
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 (2)
PHI
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CIN
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W 3-0 3 3 3 3 3 0.281 8 C
8 Clyde McCullough
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1942-07-26
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 (1)
CHC
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PHI
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L 3-4 4 3 3 3 3 ??? 7 C
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com
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: View Play Index Tool Used
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Generated 7/29/2012.

Impressively, three of the eight teams managed to win despite only scoring 3 runs. All of the games were reasonably close, too, so the teams who lost must feel especially bad for wasting the 3-homer performances.

What’s strange about the list, to me, is that only 2 of the games were by AL players, and both of them (Eddie Murray

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and Boog Powell
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) played for the Orioles. Also odd is that the first 4 instances of this feat were in games featuring the Phillies playing against either the Cubs or the Reds. The next two were by the Orioles, and the most recent two featured the Diamondbacks on one side or the other.

Eddie Murray had probably the most impressive game on the list in terms of the timing of his homers; he hit a game-tying homer in the 4th inning, a game-tying homer in the 9th, and a go-ahead homer in the 11th. Unfortunately for him, the Orioles gave up the 11th-inning lead on an error and then lost in 13 innings. Murray had a +0.750 WPA; his hitting teammates combined for a -1.169 WPA.

There have also been a number of games in which a player has hit 2 solo homers to account for his team’s only 2 runs. Most recently, Michael Cuddyer

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did it just last week in the Rockies’ 6-2 loss to the Diamondbacks
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(the same team that beat Davis and the Mets last night). Ryan Doumit
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of the Twins also did it this year, in a 5-2 loss to the Mariners
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back in May. It was done 6 times last season, all in losses, by Jacoby Ellsbury
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(link
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), Ian Kinsler
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(link
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), Mark Reynolds
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 (link
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), Scott Hairston
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 (link
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), J.P. Arencibia
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 (link
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), and Brandon Phillips
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 (link
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). Weirdly, all 6 games happened on July 1st or later; it didn’t happen at all in the season’s first 3 months.

The last team to win while scoring all of its runs on one player’s multiple solo homers was the Astros, who beat the Pirates 2-0

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on July 8th, 2010 thanks to two bombs by Lance Berkman
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. The Astros thanked Berkman by trading him to the Yankees 3 weeks later. Roy Oswalt
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threw a 1-hitter in that game and was also traded soon after (to the Phillies). It must suck to have been an Astros fan in the past few seasons.

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4 Responses to Player Hits Three Homers, Team Scores Three Runs

  1. Tommy Walker
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    says:

    There you go again, getting impressed with teams that win with exactly three runs. The number of games in which one side scores zero, one or two is huge.

    Reply
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    • J
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      says:

      Is it surprising that, say, 3 of 8 teams won despite scoring just 3 runs? Not really. But it is impressive, especially in this context, in which basically all of the offense came from one player. To win those games, the team needed great pitching and a phenomenal solo hitting performance. So yes: impressive.

      Or think of it this way: it’s only happened 3 times in MLB history (since 1918, technically, but very likely before then, too). That really impresses me.

      It’s also pretty impressive the other way around, too, with the teams that won despite allowing a 3-HR game from the other team’s player. For instance, Kennedy almost completely shut down the Mets other than Davis.

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  2. Tommy Walker
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    says:

    Baseball structure is impressive, in the sense that it allows for so *many* games in which only one guy out of nine can seem to do anything right. And Junk Stats doesn’t bother unless the feat is impressive; some of this stuff is pretty run-of-the-mill impressive if you ask me.

    Ooo– I got one: Most hits in one-hitters, career.

    Reply
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    • Tommy Walker
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      says:

      …Or here’s a more germane request:

      Most games accounting for all a team’s runs, career (No offensive output aside from a given batter’s solo HRs.)

      And a refinement of the theme:

      Most WINS accounting for all a team’s runs (and ribbies; these will mostly be 1-0 wins by way of solo HR)

      1-0 wins by homer are fairly commonplace, as impressive feats go. And they are cases in which you have one guy performing infinitely better on paper than the rest of both teams combined. A guy who hits three solo HRs is merely tripling the accomplishment of the batter who hits but one, which is a nothing jump in magnitude compared to the guy who solos while 17 other players go quietly into the night.

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