2 ITPHRs in 2 games? This A's prospect did it

August 4th, 2022

Denzel Clarke has etched his name in history.

Coming off of his appearance in the All-Star Futures Game, the 15th-ranked A's prospect did something that may not have been done in the history of baseball -- he recorded inside-the-park homers in consecutive games.

Yes, there have been instances of the phenomena happening twice in one game. In the expansion era (since 1961), three players have accomplished that feat: Dick Allen in 1972, Greg Gagne in 1986 and Ruben Sierra in 1987. In fact, two days later Sierra notched another inside-the-parker to make it three in three games. But, no one has done it in consecutive games.

Enter Clarke.

The 22-year-old may have even looked a click higher than his 60-grade speed as he motored around the bags on Tuesday for a two-run inside-the-park homer that got to the wall in left and shuffled around a bit there in the seventh inning of High-A Lansing's 15-8 loss to West Michigan at Jackson Field.

It was the first inside-the-park home run for a Lugnuts player since Brandon Grudzielanek pulled off the feat at Dayton on August 25, 2018.

Less than 24 hours later, fatigue was clearly not a factor for the towering 6-foot-5, 220-pound centerfielder. In the sixth inning of the Lugnuts 8-1 victory of the Whitecaps on Wednesday, Clarke turned around the first pitch he saw from RJ Petit and sent a laser off the right-center field wall that caromed off the wall and well past center fielder Ben Malgeri. Clarke not only came around to score standing up, but there was no throw home and the Canada native continued running into the dugout and through the line of teammates for high fives, never stopping to catch his breathe.

He became the first Lugnuts player since Tim Locastro in 2015 with two inside-the-park home runs in the same season.

Clarke now has 12 home runs on the season and five in the Midwest League. He was promoted to High-A Lansing from Single-A Stockton on June 14. The 2021 fourth-round Draft selection has posted a .266/.375/.500 combined slash line with 51 runs scored and 37 RBIs over 66 total games this season.