Andrew McCutchen homers three times against the Padres on Sunday

Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen hit a trio of solo homers, leading his team to a 7-1 victory over the Padres on Sunday afternoon at Petco Park. His first dinger came in the first inning off of Clayton Richard, putting the Pirates up 1-0. He went yard again in the eighth, boosting the Pirates’ lead to 5-1. His third homer caromed off of the right field foul pole, making it a 7-1 game.

McCutchen is the eighth player to hit three home runs in a game this season, joining Yoenis Cespedes, Matt Kemp, Anthony Rendon, Scooter Gennett (four), Eddie Rosario, Corey Seager, and Nolan Arenado. Despite the home run surge that we’ve seen this season, we’re still a ways off from matching last year’s three-homer game count of 19. The record was set in 2001 with 22 three-homer games.

Last year, McCutchen put up the worst numbers of his career and he lost his long time position in center field entering this season until Starling Marte was suspended. McCutchen has turned things around this year. After Sunday’s action, he’s batting .292/.385/.535 with 22 home runs, 66 RBI, and 68 runs scored in 431 plate appearances.

Japanese outfielder Yoshida to negotiate with MLB teams

Masataka Yoshida
Yukihito Taguchi/USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO — Outfielder Masataka Yoshida will be able to negotiate with Major League Baseball teams starting Wednesday under the posting system with the Japanese big leagues.

A member of Japan’s Olympic team last year, Yoshida will be posted at 8 a.m. EST on Wednesday and MLB teams have until 5 p.m. EST on Jan. 20 to reach an agreement, the commissioner’s office said Tuesday.

The 29-year-old hit .335 with 21 homers and 88 RBIs in 119 games this year for the Orix Buffaloes of Japan’s Pacific League. A left-handed batter, he has a .327 average with 133 homers and 467 RBIs over seven seasons in the Japanese majors.

Yoshida hit .350 with two RBIs as Japan won last year’s Olympic gold medal.

Under 2017 changes to the posting system, the posting fee will be 20% of the first $25 million of a major league contract, including earned bonuses and options. The percentage drops to 17.5% of the next $25 million and 15% of any amount over $50 million. There would be a supplemental fee of 15% of any earned bonuses, salary escalators and exercised options.

Hard-throwing right-hander Kodai Senga, another member of the Olympic team, is a free agent and does not have to go through the posting system because he has 11 seasons of service time in the Japanese major leagues.

Senga, who turns 30 in January, was 11-6 with a 1.94 ERA in 22 starts for the Pacific League’s Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. He pitched three scoreless innings in two outings against the U.S. in the Olympics, allowing one hit and striking out six with two walks.