Rojas swats three HRs in windy Wrigley win

D-backs hit flurry of seven homers, including two from Peralta

May 20th, 2022

CHICAGO -- When he arrived at Wrigley Field on Friday morning, Josh Rojas checked the flags flying high above the outfield.

The D-backs third baseman saw that they were blowing -- or rather, gusting -- straight out. He didn’t need to be a meteorologist to know what that meant.

"I knew it was gonna be a good day to try to get the ball in the air," Rojas said.

It sure was. Rojas smacked three homers, David Peralta had two and Alek Thomas and Christian Walker each chipped in one as the D-backs rolled to a 10-6 win over the Cubs. The two teams combined for 11 homers, tying a record for home runs hit in a game at Wrigley Field.

Rojas had five plate appearances. In two of them, he tried to hit a home run, and in those two, he made outs. The other three at-bats he just tried to hit the ball hard. They resulted in the home runs.

The first homer came in the third, his second in the fifth and his third in the seventh. The first two homers came off Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks, while the final one came against Mychal Givens.

It was the fourth three-homer game in the big leagues this year and the second in two days, as Trevor Story did so for the Red Sox on Thursday night. Rojas became the first D-backs player to hit three homers in a game since AJ Pollock accomplished the feat against the Dodgers on April 30, 2018.

When he stepped to the plate with one on and one out in the first inning, the wind was on Rojas' mind, and he swung for the fences.

"I was definitely trying to hit a homer," Rojas said with a smile, “and it didn't quite work out. I hit a lazy fly ball to the left, and that's when I even talked to the hitting coaches and I was like, ‘I've just got to think low line drives and hopefully, I get it high enough and the wind will take care of it.’"

Rojas first homer landed over left-center field, but his second one almost didn't happen. On the first pitch of that at-bat, Rojas hit a grounder that snuck through the hole at first, but just before the pitch, first-base umpire Chris Guccione called time, so the hit didn't count.

On the next pitch, Rojas homered to center.

"At first when he called time out, I was like, ‘Dang, that's some bad luck,’" Rojas said. "Then I got a good pitch to hit the next one and I hit a homer, and I had to thank him for sure."

With three home runs already in the books, the chance to tie the Major League record for homers in a game and his team somewhat comfortably ahead, Rojas had one thing on his mind in his final at-bat, in the ninth inning

"I was definitely trying to hit a fourth home run," Rojas said. "Definitely trying to hit a fourth home run, especially with a good lead. You know, if it's a close ballgame, you're trying to put a good at-bat up there, but that time I was definitely trying to get a fourth."

Rojas opened the season on the injured list with a strained right oblique and did not play in his first game for Arizona until May 6. In his first 50 plate appearances, he did not homer. In fact, the last time he homered was Aug. 15, 2021 -- a 188-AB homerless streak. Rojas became the 41st player in MLB history to hit his first three home runs of a season in the same game.

While Rojas couldn’t remember a comparable game during his Minor League career, it's an easy bet that he won't forget about this windy Friday at Wrigley for a long time. 

"I've had multi-homer games in the Minor Leagues, multi-hit games in the Minor Leagues, but I've never done anything like this," Rojas said. "This was a pretty good feeling, especially coming into the game with zero and leaving with three. That's a pretty awesome feeling."