When the Diamondbacks signed Chris Iannetta to a one-year, $1.5 million contract over the winter, it didn’t raise too many eyebrows. He was a veteran being thrown into the mix to compete for at-bats with Jeff Mathis and a host of others in camp with the Diamondbacks.
In actuality, the 34-year-old backstop has been an integral part of the Diamondbacks’ offense and their success this season.
On Friday, he etched his name into the franchise record books, becoming just the second player in club history to have eight or more RBI in a single game, joining Erubiel Durazo, who hit three homers and had nine RBI on in May of 2002.
Iannetta got things started in this one with a three-run blast off of Adam Conley in the first inning that gave the D’Backs a 3-2 lead. He added an RBI single during a four-run rally the following inning that increased their advantage to 7-4.
This game was far from over though.
With the Diamondbacks trailing 9-7 heading into the sixth inning, they were able to cut the deficit in half with a solo shot from Christian Walker. Iannetta strode to the plate later in the inning with the bases loaded and two outs, where he crushed a grand slam off of Dustin McGowan to give the Snakes a 12-9 lead.
For Iannetta, the eight RBI are a new career-high for him. He’s also the only player in the big leagues to have multiple games with seven or more RBI this season, having plated seven runs against the Padres earlier in the season.
With Friday’s monster effort, he’s slashing .257/.356/.514 with 16 homers and 42 RBI on the season. That type of production has provided a tremendous amount of surplus value over the $1.5 million that the D’Backs gave him this season. It would be surprising if the club didn’t make an effort to bring him back next season.
Teammate J.D. Martinez also made a bit of Diamondbacks’ history in this one. With his opposite-field solo shot off of Drew Steckenrider in the eighth inning, Martinez tied the club record for most home runs in a month with 13.
Just Dingers has an astounding 42 home runs in only 112 games this season, including 26 in his 55 contests with the Diamondbacks. He now has six days left in the month to best the 13 homers that Luis Gonzalez swatted in April of 2001.
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Dodgers’ rookie phenom Cody Bellinger also put his name in the record books on Friday with a towering three-run bomb off of Jeff Samardzija in the third inning of a victory over the Giants.
With that blast, his 39th of the season, Bellinger set the record for most home runs ever in a season by a National League rookie.
He’ll run out of time to run down the big league mark of 49 set by Mark McGwire, and even trails the 44 long balls that Aaron Judge has swatted this season, but it’s now the stand-alone mark in the Senior Circuit.
What makes it even more impressive, is that Bellinger has done so in only 124 games. Imagine the type of numbers he would be putting up if he had been with the Dodgers the entire season.
The 21-year-old is slashing .274/.356/.596 with 39 homers, 86 runs scored, 94 RBI and 10 stolen bases in 518 plate appearances on the season. He has been perhaps the most important bat on a club with the best overall record in all of baseball.
He’s a lock to take home National League Rookie of the Year honors and should garner some votes for National League MVP as well.
A Grand Ol’ Time
Scooter Gennett was emerged from relative obscurity to become a legitimate slugger in the middle of the Reds’ lineup this season.
On Friday, he put his name alongside legendary slugger Lou Gehrig in the history books.
In the first inning, Gennett crushed a Rick Porcello offering over the wall in right field for a grand slam. It was his fourth grand slam of the season.
In doing so, he became just the second player in Major League history to hit four grand slams in the same season and also have a four home run game on their resume. Gehrig had a four-homer game during the 1932 season and swatted four grand slams during the 1934 campaign.
Gennett is the only hitter to ever accomplish both incredible feats in the same season.
He’s now slashing a robust .297/.345/.548 with 27 homers and 93 RBI in just 133 games for the Reds on the season.
Reds secure Barnhart
The Reds gave their organization some stability behind the plate for the next several years on Friday, inking Tucker Barnhart to a four-year, $15.5 million contract extension.
The deal also includes a $7.5 million club option for 2022 with a $500,000 buyout. The deal buys out all of Barnhart’s arbitration years as well as at least his first year of free agency.
The 26-year-old backstop is an above-average catcher by all defensive metrics and has hit a solid .264/.336/.389 with 13 homers and 93 RBI over 228 games the past two seasons for the Reds.
The Reds are still on the hook for $13.125 million owed to Devin Mesoraco in 2018, but they could try to shed part of that salary via trade over the winter. At the very least, Barnhart provides insurance and makes it so the Reds have at least one capable option behind the plate at a relatively affordable price for the foreseeable future.
American League Quick Hits: Tigers general manager Al Avila announced Friday that manager Brad Ausmus would not be retained for 2018. The Tigers have missed the playoffs each of the past three seasons and own a woeful 62-92 record this season… Zach Britton received a stem cell injection in his ailing knee and will miss at least 3-5 days, but probably the remainder of the season… Lance McCullers (arm) has been cleared to rejoin the Astros’ rotation on Sunday… The Blue Jays have shut down Steve Pearce (back) for the remainder of the 2017 season… Indians’ skipper Terry Francona indicated that he would like to get Danny Salazar another start before the regular season ends… Salvador Perez was removed from Friday’s game for precautionary reasons after taking a foul tip off of his jaw… Josh Reddick was pulled from Friday’s game due to back soreness. He’s day-to-day… Aaron Judge blasted his American League-leading 46th home run in a victory over the Blue Jays… Ryan Goins belted a grand slam in a win over the Yankees… Nicholas Castellanos hit his 25th home run in a losing effort against the Twins… Brian Dozier had a jack and a bag to lead the Twins past the Tigers… Marco Estrada hurled seven innings of one-run ball in a win over the Yankees… Wilson Ramos went 3-for-4 with a grand slam in a rout over the Orioles… David Price earned a victory on Friday with 2 ⅔ innings of scoreless relief work against the Reds… Nelson Cruz blasted a walk-off two-run homer to beat the Indians...Erasmo Ramirez fanned 10 over eight innings of one-run ball in a tough-luck no-decision against the Tribe… Matt Olson blasted yet another home run, his 24th of the season, as the Athletics topped the Rangers. He has slugged an astonishing 16 homers in 23 games since August 27 and hasn’t had a hit that wasn’t a home run since September 12… Justin Verlander won his fourth straight start to begin his Astros’ career, allowing just one hit and fanning six over seven shutout innings against the Angels.
National League Quick Hits: R.A. Dickey announced that he’s pondering retiring at the conclusion of the 2017 season… Noah Syndergaard (lat) will start Saturday’s game against the Nationals and work one inning before being replaced by Matt Harvey… Braves’ manager Brian Snitker indicated that Mike Foltynewicz (finger) could miss the remainder of the 2017 season… Bryce Harper (knee) was able to run the bases , shag fly balls and take batting practice without issue on Friday… Justin Turner sat out another game with a thumb contusion. He’s considered day-to-day… Jose Martinez was forced to leave Friday’s game with left thumb soreness. He’ll travel back to St. Louis to be examined on Saturday… Shawn Kelley was removed from Friday’s game with an apparent arm injury… Billy Hamilton (thumb) went 2-for-5 and scored a run in his return from the disabled list…Travis d’Arnaud homered twice and plated four runs as the Mets beat the Nationals… Jeurys Familia secured his first save since May 5 in that victory… Kurt Suzuki launched a pair of home runs and drove in three in a win against the Phillies. He now has hit a career-high 18 home runs this season, 14 of those since the beginning of July… Rich Hill piled up nine strikeouts while allowing just one run over six frames in a win against the Giants… Nolan Arenado slugged his 35th home run in a victory over the Padres… Marcel Ozuna hit two home runs and drove in three runs in a wild loss to the Diamondbacks. In doing so, he and Giancarlo Stanton became the first set of teammates to each have 35+ homers and 115+ RBI in a season since Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz did so with the Red Sox in 2005.