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Bo homers, sets 2B record in home debut

@baseballexis
August 9, 2019

TORONTO -- Bo Bichette, maker of history. In his short time in the big leagues, Bichette has altered the record books, both in Toronto and around the Major Leagues, seemingly every time he’s stepped on the field. • Box score With a home run in the fifth inning of the

TORONTO -- Bo Bichette, maker of history.

In his short time in the big leagues, Bichette has altered the record books, both in Toronto and around the Major Leagues, seemingly every time he’s stepped on the field.

Box score

With a home run in the fifth inning of the Blue Jays’ 12-6 loss to the Yankees on Thursday -- his fourth, and first at Rogers Centre -- the 21-year-old shortstop added to his already impressive Major League resume. The long ball extended his streak of extra-base hits to nine games, making him the first rookie since Ted Williams in 1939 to accomplish the feat.

“We’re watching history, that’s what we’re doing,” manager Charlie Montoyo said. “The doubles and home runs, that’s why everybody’s saying, ‘Wow.’ He’s fun to watch. I’m glad I’m here watching him. Front row.”

Despite the feeling of familiarity Bichette’s latest accomplishments bring to a team that has seen nothing else from the young infielder during his time in the Majors, his first home run in front of a home crowd of 34,108 was one that will stick with him for at least a little while.

“When I hit the homer, that was the first chills moment I’ve had in the big leagues so far,” Bichette said. “Running around the bases, and the crowd was pretty loud, the loudest I’ve ever had. So that was a pretty cool moment.”

In the sixth inning, Bichette doubled to extend his streak of two-base hits to nine games as well, the longest stretch the Majors has ever seen. The double also helped MLB Pipeline's No. 8 prospect become the first player to notch 13 extra-base hits in his first 11 games.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Montoyo said. “Well, what he’s doing is history, so of course I’ve never seen it, but he’s 21 years old [and] he’s hitting [.408] and hitting doubles and home runs, so I expect him to be happy, but the energy he has anyways, that’s how he plays.

“That’s how these kids play, so it’s going to be fun. I said it at the beginning of the season, whenever these kids get together, they’re going to be fun to watch. Right now, it’s fun to watch. If [I was a fan], I would come to the games and watch these kids play.”

“I’d be lying to you if I said I thought that I’d be breaking records,” Bichette said prior to the game. “But I do expect to play well, and I think those records are a byproduct of putting in the work and going out there and being aggressive, and trying to treat the game like any other game.”

The home run also gave Bichette a hit in all 11 big league games he has played, extending the longest streak to begin a career in franchise history. It's the third longest such streak by a player 21 or younger, behind Rocco Baldelli -- who hit in 13 straight games in 2003 -- and Eddie Murphy, who had a 12-game streak to start his career in 1912.

A seemingly unstoppable force of nature through his career-opening streak, Bichette set an additional franchise record on Thursday with 20 hits in his first 11 games, three more than any other player.

“There are certain at-bats where [pitchers] are challenging me, and they’ll get me out challenging me,” Bichette said. “Then the next at-bat, they won’t. There’s no really rhyme or reason to what they’re doing right now. Teams have tried to go in, then they’ve tried to go away, they’ve tried to throw breaking balls. I’m just seeing the ball pretty well right now.”

Ahead of Thursday’s matchup, Bichette set a franchise record with 18 hits in his first 10 career games, and his 1.254 OPS was the highest in Blue Jays history through any player’s first 10 contests. He also joined Pete Alonso as the only players in MLB history to record 11 extra-base hits in their first 10 games.

Bichette’s home run came two batters after Derek Fisher hit his second long ball in a Blue Jays uniform, and third of the season. Sandwiched between the homers was a double from catcher Reese McGuire, whose four hits surpassed his total through his first six games this season.

“He was taking the outside pitch and going the other way with it,” Montoyo said of McGuire. “He wasn’t pulling it. I told him, 'You can’t take four hits for granted,' because that’s not easy to do, four hits. That was good to see.”

McGuire added a home run of his own, his second of the season, in the eighth frame, coming a triple shy of the cycle. He became the 19th catcher in Blue Jays history with a four-hit game and the first since Josh Thole on Sept. 25, 2013.

“It’s refreshing,” McGuire said. “It’s something you want to be able to do, contribute on the offensive side, too, especially being in the nine-hole. I want to roll that order over to Bichette, Vladdy [Guerrero Jr.] and [Cavan] Biggio at the top of the order, because those guys are right there.”

Alexis Brudnicki is a Canada-based Baseball Development and Special Projects reporter for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @baseballexis.