10 years ago today: Barry Bonds hits three homers, giving him 20

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May 19, 2001

Barry Bonds hits three solo homers as part of a 6-3 win over the Braves, giving him 20 homers through the Giants’ first 42 games.

Bonds went on to hit a major league record 73 homers in 2001 to win the fourth of his seven NL MVP awards.

Even though he was on such a tear right from the start of the season, Bonds only moved into a tie for the major league lead in homers with the outburst. Luis Gonzalez already had 20 on his way to hitting 57 that season.

It was Bonds’ second three-homer game, the first coming seven years earlier. He had another three-homer game on Sept. 9, 2001 and one last one on Aug. 27, 2002. While Bonds is the career leader in homers, he’s tied for seventh in his number of three-homer games. Johnny Mize and Sammy Sosa had six apiece, while Joe Carter, Carlos Delgado, Dave Kingman and Mark McGwire all had five.

Also having multihomer games on May 19, 2001 were the Dodgers’ Shawn Green (Nos. 9 & 10 of the year) and the Tigers’ Damion Easley (Nos. 3 & 4). J.D. Drew hit his 16th homer for the Cardinals, while Alex Rodriguez hit No. 15 in his first season for the Rangers. The long forgotten Mark Quinn hit his 10th for Kansas City. He was just about on pace for a 40-homer season then, but he’d be out of the league barely a year later.

That’s 2001 for you.

Francisco Cervelli shines in his Braves debut

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Last week the Pittsburgh Pirates released Francisco Cervelli. Yesterday he was signed by the Braves. Atlanta gave him the start behind the plate and he went 3-for-5 with two doubles and three runs driven in to help his new team to victory over the Mets. Welcome to Atlanta, Frankie.

Cervelli had been rehabbing from a concussion and hadn’t seen big league action since late May. He was ready to come back, though, and the Pirates — who are going nowhere — gave him his release so that he might join a contender for the stretch run.

The performance he put up last night, obviously will not be the norm for him going forward. But it’s also the case that his early 2019 batting line of .193/.279/.248 is not indicative of his talent level either. He posted an .809 OPS (122 OPS+) in 2018, and if he gives Atlanta anything even approaching his usual production it’ll help stabilize a shaky catching situation for the Braves.