'Tonight was about Travis': d'Arnaud steals show with 3-homer day

Braves catcher becomes 3rd Atlanta player since 1901 to hit a grand slam in a 3-homer game

April 20th, 2024

ATLANTA -- smiled when asked about his performance in the Braves’ 8-3 win over the Rangers on Friday night at Truist Park. He then spent most of the next five minutes raving about ’s three-homer game.

“Nobody cares about my pitching, nobody cares about a fan beating The Freeze or who was eating a hot dog,” Sale said. “Tonight was about Travis and that was nothing short of electric. It was just a very fun game to be a part of.”

d’Arnaud electrified a sold-out home crowd when he capped his second career three-homer game with a go-ahead grand slam off left-handed reliever Jacob Latz in the sixth inning.

“I felt like I was 120 pounds running the bases, instead of 220,” d’Arnaud said. “I was trying to hold in my smile a little bit until I hit home plate. I hope every baseball player gets to feel that way.”

There haven’t been many players who have experienced a night quite like this. Here’s the company d’Arnaud joined.

  • Became the third Braves player since at least 1901 to hit a grand slam in a three-homer game. The last had been during a 29-9 win over the Marlins on Sept. 9, 2020. Orlando Cepeda also did this on July 26, 1970.
  • Became the fourth Braves catcher and first since Dale Murphy (May 18, 1979) to hit three homers in one game. The others were Bob Tillman (July 30, 1969) and Gene Oliver (July 30, 1966)
  • Joined Bryce Harper and former Braves catcher Shea Langeliers as the only MLB players to hit three homers in a game this year.

“Sometimes, it’s better to be lucky than good,” d’Arnaud said.

There wasn’t anything lucky or cheap about any of d’Arnaud’s home runs. His solo shot off Andrew Heaney in the second inning traveled a projected 429 ft. into the left-field seats. His fifth-inning solo shot went a projected 440 ft. His grand slam went 433 ft.

“It was probably what, a quarter of a mile of home runs?” Sale said. “It was just a fun game to be a part of and a special night. I’m just glad I got to be in the box score for that one.”

d’Arnaud helped Sale limit the Rangers to three runs over seven innings. The lefty surrendered a leadoff homer to Marcus Semien and then held the defending World Series champs scoreless until a pair of soft singles and a double led to two runs in the sixth.

But as Sale said, the memories of this game will center around d’Arnaud’s memorable performance. The catcher’s only other three-homer game came when he helped the Rays claim a 5-4 win at Yankee Stadium on July 15, 2019.

“It was cool to do this one at home,” d’Arnaud said. “The other one we were down two and I hit a three-run homer with a 3-2 count and two outs in the ninth. That was pretty cool. But it was the complete opposite. This one the crowd went wild and the other one, the crowd went silent.”

d’Arnaud and have playfully traded jabs since becoming teammates before the 2022 season. So, it wasn’t surprising to hear the catcher say that after hitting his second homer, Olson said, “Anyone can hit two.”

A short time later, d’Arnaud became the first Braves player to hit three homers in a game since Duvall did so on Sept. 2 and 9, 2020. also hit three homers on Sept. 1, 2020.

d’Arnaud came to the park on Friday without any homers and a .561 OPS through 48 plate appearances. The 2022 All-Star has been a solid offensive contributor, but his primary value comes from what he does defensively and as a clubhouse leader.

Atlanta has been without since he strained his left oblique on Opening Day. But with d’Arnaud serving as the primary catcher, it’s been business as usual for the Braves, who own an MLB-best .722 winning percentage.

“When a guy hits three homers, it’s awesome,” Sale said. “But when a guy like him does it, it’s even more fun.”