Saturday, June 14, 2014

El Coffee - One For The Record Books

It wasn't enough that Gregory Polanco went 5-for-7 and smacked his first MLB homer (a 13th inning game-winner). El Coffee got his name in the major league and Pirate record books, and not just once.

Batting leadoff with Josh Harrison on ice, Polanco opened the game in Miami with a single and scored on Starling Marte’s homer. He struck out in his second at-bat missing a slider, but in the fifth he again led off with a single, plating on Ike Davis' double. He was left aboard after singles in the sixth and eighth. Up with two on and two out in the 10th, El Coffee worked Marlins closer Steve Cishek to a full count, but struck out looking at a slider that was borderline low.

Payback is sweet as Polanco proved in 13th against LOOGY Mike Dunn. With one out and Clint Barmes on second, Gregory was facing a 2-2 count, fouled off a slider, then waited out a mound conference between Marlins catcher Jeff Mathis and Dunn. He hit the next slider, hung by Dunn, 413 feet to left center for his first major league home run. It was the first game his mom watched him play, and to boot, the Miami fan that caught his blast graciously gave the ball up to Polanco. The records broken with that drive:
  • Polanco became the only player in the modern era (post-1914) to have five hits and a home run in one of his first four MLB games. Montreal Expo Mike Lansing had the previous record , set in his fifth game on April 11th, 1993 against Colorado. 
  • El Coffee was the third rookie to put up a five-hit performance by his fourth game. The two guys who are ahead of him actually had five hits in their MLB debuts - Cecil Travis of the Washington Senators did it on May 16th, 1933, against the Indians, and before him was old Bucco Hall-of-Fame OF'er and manager Fred Clarke, who did it for Louisville on June 30th, 1894, against the Phillies. On April 17th, 1918, the Braves Red Massey went 5-for-6 in his second major league game against the Boston Braves; it would be his only season in the show.
  • Polanco became just the second rookie since 1900 to collect five or more hits in a game and hit a game-winning home run in extra innings. Willie Montanez went 5-for-5 with a game-winning home run for the Phillies when they beat the Cardinals in St. Louis on September 13th, 1971.
  • Polanco (22.272 years old) is the third youngest player since 1914 to have a five-hits with a homer game while batting leadoff, behind Joe Morgan (21.292) & Jose Cardenal (22.236).
  • Gregory is the first Pirate player with four or more hits in a game before his fifth contest since Brock Holt, also in game #4, did it on September 4th, 2012, against the Houston Astros. 
  • Polanco is also the first Buc to have at least eight hits in the first four games of his career since Jack Merson in 1951. Merson collected 11 knocks in a five game span and 14 hits in eight games that season - as a September call-up! 
  • Polanco became the fastest Pirate rookie to bang out five hits in a game, passing "The Rock," John Wehner, who did the deed in his fifth game on July 23rd, 1991, against Atlanta. Neil Walker was the last Pittsburgh rookie to have a five-hit game, on July 20th, 2010 against the Brewers. 
(Thanks to, Sports Illustrated, Elias Sports Bureau, ESPN and Baseball Reference for all the stuff.)


Ken said...

Shouldn't he properly be el Café not el Coffee?

Ron Ieraci said...

I believe that's a big si si, Ken!