Red Sox

J.D. Martinez becomes 18th player in history to hit four HRs in game

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J.D. Martinez becomes 18th player in history to hit four HRs in game

LOS ANGELES -- J.D. Martinez keeps doing damage and the Arizona Diamondbacks keep winning.

Martinez tied a major league record by slugging four of Arizona's six home runs, and the Diamondbacks routed the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers 13-0 on Monday night for their 11th straight victory.

"We were part of history," Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. "You can't believe it after it keeps happening - second, third and finally the fourth time. It was amazing. J.D. works as hard as anybody at his swing, perfecting his craft, and he deserves that moment."

Martinez was the headliner on a big night for a couple Diamondbacks.

Robbie Ray struck out a career-high 14 while helping second-place Arizona to its longest win streak since it also won 11 in a row from June 18-30, 2003.

"He has our number," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "He was exceptional."

Martinez is the 18th player in major league history to hit four homers in a game, and the 16th in the modern era. The team's six homers tied for the most in Dodger Stadium history by a visitor.

"I felt like it was one of those days," Martinez said. "I was seeing the ball well and when I was swinging, I was hitting it."

Arizona grabbed a 2-0 lead on Martinez's two-run shot off Rich Hill (9-7) in the fourth. Martinez added solo shots in the seventh and eighth innings before capping his power show with a two-run shot off Wilmer Font in the ninth.

Walking to the plate for the last time, Martinez recalled hitting three homers in a game in 2015 and thinking too much about a fourth in his final at-bat. He didn't get it.

This time, he told himself if a fourth homer was meant to be, it would happen.

"There's no point trying to force it," he said.

Martinez has 34 homers this season, including 18 since being traded to the D-backs from Detroit on July 18. He has six multihomer games in his career, with five coming this season.

The 30-year-old right fielder is still adjusting to NL pitching, too.

"It's pretty impressive to see a guy go out there and take four really good at-bats and hit four really long balls," Ray said. "I thought there was no way they were going to throw him something he could hit. But sure enough he got a ball right where he wanted it and he put it in the seats."

How Bobby Bonilla Day can save MLB's ongoing salary dispute

How Bobby Bonilla Day can save MLB's ongoing salary dispute

If baseball wants to solve its impasse over player compensation during the pandemic, here's a thought — make Bobby Bonilla Day a holiday.

Bonilla is the former Mets slugger who struck an incredible deal as his career wound to a close.

In exchange for waiving the final $5.9 million he was owed in 2000, Bonilla agreed to receive 25 payments of roughly $1.19 million every July 1 from 2011 through 2035.

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Why trade $6 million in 2000 for nearly $30 million later? Because Mets owner Fred Wilpon intended to invest the money with Bernie Madoff, whose funds consistently delivered massive returns. We now know Madoff was running the world's biggest Ponzi Scheme, and when his $64 billion fraud collapsed in 2008, it took hundreds of millions of Wilpon's money with it.

What's bad for him was good for Bobby Bo, however. Every summer, the six-time All-Star receives a check for over a million dollars, payments that will continue until he's 72. (The Mets, it should be noted, also agreed to make 25 annual $250,000 payments to Bret Saberhagen for similar reasons, starting in 2004.)

Here's where the current contentiousness enters the picture.

The owners want the players to take a massive pay cut in exchange for a season, arguing they can't afford to play in empty ballparks without salary concessions. The players don't want to return a penny, and in fact hope to play more than the proposed 82 games to make as much of their prorated salaries as possible.

One solution is deferrals. The players agree to put off some portion of their earnings, allowing ownership to maintain cash flow in the short term before the game's economics hopefully stabilize in the future.

And what better day to do it than Bobby Bonilla Day? Every July 1 starting next year, the players can receive a portion of their 2020 salary. Maybe it's paid in installments over three to five years, or maybe it's a lump sum.

However it's done, it could represent a meaningful olive branch from the players and a signal that they're willing to compromise in these unprecedented times.

The value for the owners is clear, because Wilpon isn't the only one who sees the allure of deferrals. The World Series champion Nationals prefer them as a rule, deferring not only $105 million of Max Scherzer's $210 million contract, but even $3 million of the $4 million they gave reliever Joe Blanton in 2017.

With players and owners at each other's throats, it could be disarming to invoke one of the game's stranger annual curiosities. And if it helps us play baseball in 2020, there's also this: Open the season on July 1 and make Bobby Bonilla Day, for one year anyway, a national holiday.

Who are the best right fielders in Red Sox history? Ranking the Top 5

Who are the best right fielders in Red Sox history? Ranking the Top 5

Corner outfielders for the Red Sox have vastly different responsibilities. 

While left fielders have to learn how to play with the Green Monster at their backs, right fielders are tasked with covering an immense amount of ground with some quirky angles —duties which require not just a mobile defender, but a fearless one. A strong arm helps, too, lest the turnstiles between first and third just spin all game.

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Fortunately for the Red Sox, there have been no shortage of exceptional right fielders over the years, including a number who didn't make our top five, like Dirt Dog Trot Nixon; postseason heroes J.D. Drew and Shane Victorino; and Earl Webb, whose 67 doubles in 1931 remain one of the longest-standing single-season records in the game.

The final list includes a Hall of Famer, two MVPs, a hometown hero, and one of the franchise's longest tenured stars.

Click here for the Top 5 right fielders in Red Sox history.