Munoz homers twice in 7th inning vs. O's

Cards' No. 12 prospect goes 3-for-5 with four RBIs vs. Orioles

February 28th, 2018

wasn't even supposed to be in the lineup for Wednesday's 10-9 comeback win against the Orioles.

By the seventh inning, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny was happy he was.

Starting in right field for late scratch , Munoz hit two home runs in St. Louis' eight-run seventh inning. The first was a solo homer against Andrew Faulker that began an improbable rally, the second a two-run shot against Steven Klimek that tied the game. The Cardinals' No. 12 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, Munoz finished the day 3-for-5 with four RBIs.

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"Brilliant," Matheny said afterwards, grinning.

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Had this been the regular season, Munoz would have joined some elite company. Only 60 times in Major League history has a played gone deep twice in the same inning, dating all the way back to Boston Red Stockings outfielder Charley Jones, who became the first player to do so in 1880.

Fernando Tatis is the only player in Cardinals history to accomplish the feat, and he's the only player in big league history to ever hit two grand slams in the same inning. The last player to hit two home runs in an inning for any team was Orioles designated hitter on April 15, 2017, against the Rangers. The last National League player to do it was Giants third baseman on Sept. 18, 2011.

The Cardinals are getting their first glimpse this spring of Munoz, who they acquired along with in the deal that sent to the A's during the offseason. He hit .300/.330/.464 with 13 home runs and 68 RBIs in 112 games last season between Double-A and Triple-A.

The 23-year-old is predominately a shortstop, but he has played six different positions over his six-year Minor League career. It's that kind of versatility that the Cardinals covet, and that got Munoz in the lineup Wednesday.

"That's very uncommon," Matheny said. "There are a lot of new faces. The more versatile a player can be the more options we have on how we can dispatch him."