Santander makes HR history on monster tear

O's slugger homers from both sides of plate in 4th game, tying MLB record from 1996

September 28th, 2022

BOSTON -- If there was one way to describe his performance over the past four games, what word would use?


And the numbers agree. Since Saturday, Santander is hitting .400/.400/1.350 with a double, nine RBIs and six homers -- including two at Fenway Park in the Orioles’ 13-9 loss to the Red Sox on Tuesday. Santander’s two blasts were part of four-homer night for Baltimore, after the O’s smashed five in Monday’s series opener.

With the loss, the Orioles missed a chance to gain on the Mariners for the third and final AL Wild Card spot, after Seattle lost to Texas later Tuesday night. That leaves Baltimore with eight games to make up the 3 1/2-game gap.

“It’s about continuing to make adjustments on both sides of the ball,” Santander said through team interpreter Brandon Quinones about staying in the race. “The offense as much as the pitching. It's about trying to get better each and every pitch. We know the time's running out, but there's still time to do what we need to do.”

Santander -- whose 33 home runs as a switch-hitter are two shy of Ken Singleton's club record from 1979 -- is certainly doing his part. The left fielder scored the first run of the game on ’s RBI triple, one of three triples the Orioles hit on Tuesday to bring them to five through two games this series. It marked the first time since Aug. 4, 2000, that Baltimore has hit multiple triples in consecutive games.

In the third inning, Santander went back to back with , firing a 2-1 changeup from right hander Michael Wacha into the Red Sox’s bullpen to help the Orioles retake the lead. Santander’s second homer of the night came in the fourth inning off a curveball from lefty Matt Strahm and tied the game, 8-8.

“Every ball he’s hitting it feels like it's on the screws right now,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “And [Rob] Refsnyder makes a great play out there on his last at-bat. He’s taking great swings. He’s having a great week, [showing] his power and getting huge hits for us.”

Before breaking out with a 3-for-5, two-homer game vs. the Astros on Saturday, Santander had a .169 average and .589 OPS across 20 September games. He finished Tuesday going 3-for-5 with three RBIs and three runs scored, his third multihit night in his last four games.

“This is a game where you're going to fail a lot,” Santander said. “So it’s about continuing to work hard and come in every day and make the proper adjustments, stay mentally locked in. I was in a bit of a slump, but thankfully I've been able to work my way out of that now just by doing all those things combined.”

Throughout this recent hot streak, Santander has achieved a number of accolades:

•  Hitting lefty for his first homer and righty for the second, Tuesday marked the fourth time this season Santander has homered from both sides of the plate in a game, tying the MLB record set by Ken Caminiti (1996, San Diego).

•  Santander become the first Orioles player with three multi-homer games in a four-game span, and the first player in the Majors to do so since Carlos González in 2015 with the Rockies.

•  Santander is the third player this season to hit multiple homers in consecutive games, with Kyle Schwarber (July 5-6) and Byron Buxton (June 9-10) rounding out the top three.

“The personal stuff is great, I'm happy that I was able to come through and come up with those big hits to get the team in front, tie the game in those big situations,” Santander said. “Unfortunately we didn't get the result we wanted tonight. But tomorrow’s a new day, we’re going to come back and work hard and try to compete and get a win tomorrow.”