Does a three-homer game mean Drew Stubbs is destined for stardom?

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With the wind blowing out at Wrigley Field yesterday afternoon Cubs pitchers served up seven homers in a 14-3 blowout loss to the Reds, including three long balls to center fielder Drew Stubbs.
“I’ve never done it at any level, little league, high school, or college,” Stubbs told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com afterward. “I think I’ve only got a handful of two-homer games. Three is something special.”
He’s right, of course, although there are probably more three-homer games than Stubbs would think, with seven already this season and an average of 10.5 per year during the previous decade.
However, if we limit the field a bit by looking only at three-homer games by players Stubbs’ age (25) or younger, it’s much more exclusive company.
Here’s the list of all the three-homer games from 25-and-under hitters since 2000:

Drew Stubbs         2010        Albert Pujols       2004
Andrew McCutchen    2009        Victor Martinez     2004
Evan Longoria       2008        Carlos Pena         2003
Joey Votto          2008        Andruw Jones        2002
Cody Ross           2006        Jose Ortiz          2001
Nick Markakis       2006        Aramis Ramirez      2001
Jose Reyes          2006        Alex Rodriguez      2000
Jonny Gomes         2005

Basically, one or two 25-and-under hitters per season have a three-homer game and of the 14 guys to previously accomplish the feat since 2000 all but two or three of them have become All-Star caliber players (the actual kind, not just the Omar Infante kind). Perhaps it’s not all that surprising, but the list is definitely full of more big names and fewer non-stars than I’d have guessed.
Stubbs is one of the oldest guys on the 25-and-under list and hasn’t been particularly impressive through 120 career games, hitting just .250/.322/.426 with 19 homers and an ugly 134/43 K/BB ratio. However, he’s a former first-round pick whose power-speed combination is promising if he can ever learn to control the strike zone and recent history shows that not many bad players have a three-homer game by his age.

Swanson, Olson go deep vs Scherzer, Braves take NL East lead

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ATLANTA — Dansby Swanson and Matt Olson homered off Max Scherzer, lifting the Atlanta Braves to a crucial 4-2 victory Saturday night over the New York Mets and a one-game lead in the NL East.

The defending World Series champions beat aces Jacob deGrom and Scherzer on consecutive nights to take their biggest lead of the season in the division. New York, which held a 10 1/2-game cushion on June 1, faces its biggest deficit of the year with four games remaining.

Atlanta will try for a three-game sweep Sunday night, with the winner earning the season-series tiebreaker between the teams. Even though both teams are headed to the postseason, that’s important because the NL East champion gets a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Swanson’s 24th homer, a go-ahead, two-run shot in the fifth inning, touched off a frenzy among the sold-out crowd at Truist Park, the ball sailing a few rows up into the seats in left-center to make it 3-2. Olson hit his 32nd homer in the sixth, a solo shot into Chop House seats in right to put Atlanta up 4-2.

Austin Riley led off the fourth with a double and scored on Olson’s single to make it 1-all.

Kyle Wright (21-5) gave up two runs and seven hits with one walk and three strikeouts in five innings as he won his eighth straight decision. The Braves have won 16 of his last 17 starts.

New York went up 2-1 in the fifth when Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil hit consecutive two-out singles.

The Mets led 1-0 in the first when Brandon Nimmo singled, advanced on a walk and a single and scored on Eduardo Escobar‘s groundout. Wright, who threw 30 pitches in the first, stranded two runners in scoring position to prevent further damage.

Scherzer (11-5) allowed a first-inning single to Riley and a third-inning infield single to Ronald Acuna Jr., who advanced to third on a fielding error by Lindor at shortstop but was stranded when Michael Harris II lined out to center. Scherzer patted his glove and pumped his fist as he walked off the mound.

Scherzer was charged with nine hits and four runs with no walks and four strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings as the Mets were knocked out of first place for only the third day all season.

The Braves have won five of the last six against New York to tie the season series 9-all, outscoring the Mets 37-16 over that stretch.

Atlanta’s bullpen, which posted a 1.70 ERA in September, got a perfect inning from Dylan Lee in the sixth. Jesse Chavez faced four batters in the seventh, Raisel Iglesias faced the minimum in the eighth and closer Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth for his NL-leading 39th save in 46 chances.

Since the Braves were a season low-tying four games under .500 at 23-27 after play on May 31, they have gone 76-32, tying the Los Angeles Dodgers for the best record in the majors over that span. They were a season-worst 10 1/2 games behind the first-place Mets on June 1.

Wright, the only 20-game winner in baseball this season, hasn’t officially become the first Braves pitcher to lead the league in wins outright since Russ Ortiz had 21 in 2003, but the Dodgers’ Julio Urias has 17 and can’t reach 20 before the regular season ends.

Wright will become the first Braves pitcher since Hall of Famer Tom Glavine in 2000 to lead the majors in wins. Houston ace Justin Verlander also has 17.

Wright began the game 1-4 with a 6.75 ERA in six career starts and one relief appearance against the Mets.

The Braves, who got homers from Riley, Olson and Swanson off deGrom on Friday, lead the NL with 240 homers.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: All-Star RF Starling Marte (right middle finger fracture) has yet to begin swinging or throwing. Manager Buck Showalter said Marte is experiencing less pain but not enough to take the next step in his recovery. Marte has been sidelined since Sept. 7.

Braves: RHP Spencer Strider still has not thrown as he gets treatment on a sore left oblique. Manager Brian Snitker said there is no timetable for the rookie’s return. Strider has been sidelined since Sept. 21.

NICE GLOVE

Harris ran back and jumped to catch Nimmo’s fly against the wall in center field for the first out of the third.

UP NEXT

Mets RHP Chris Bassitt (15-8, 3.27 ERA) will face RHP Charlie Morton (9-6, 4.29) as the teams conclude a three-game series.