Yelich hits the longest home run of the year

499-foot blast is 3rd-longest HR tracked since 2015, but Crew slips in WC chase

September 7th, 2022

DENVER -- The Brewers wasted no time making mile-high memories with a moonshot for the ages on Tuesday night, as Christian Yelich drove the fourth pitch of the game from Rockies starter Chad Kuhl a Statcast-projected 499 feet to the third deck at Coors Field.

It’s the longest dinger of the 2022 season so far. It's also the third-longest tracked by Statcast (since 2015), surpassed by only Nomar Mazara (505 feet) and Giancarlo Stanton (504). And while it launched a dominant seven innings from Brandon Woodruff and the Brewers, who led by five runs heading to the bottom of the eighth, it didn’t keep Milwaukee from suffering a brutal 10-7 loss in 10 innings.

“It felt pretty good, but obviously a tough night afterwards for us,” Yelich said of his epic long ball, as the Crew dropped to three games back in the National League Wild Card race. “It's one of those ones where everything kind of lines up for you, catching a really good spot. Oddly enough, it was my first home run [at Coors Field] in nine or 10 times playing here [100 previous at-bats], so I guess if you’re gonna wait that long, make it count.”

It was the second-longest home run of the Statcast era at Coors Field, behind Stanton’s 504-foot shot on Aug. 6, 2016, when he was with the Marlins. Ironically, when Stanton set that mark from the cleanup spot, Yelich was hitting in front of him as they were 3-4 in the order.

“Stanton got that one pretty good,” Yelich recalled. “He hits balls like that all the time, but I do actually remember that one. It was a pretty good one.”

Tuesday's blast was Yelich’s fourth career leadoff homer, and his second of the season. It is the longest home run of his career, far eclipsing his previous mark of 462 feet.

“At least give me the extra foot,” Yelich joked about just missing the 500-foot club. “It'll be cooler tomorrow after the tough loss wears off, but yeah, we need the extra 12 inches.”

The towering blast was Yelich’s 12th of the year and first since Aug. 28 against Chicago, and it elevated a rough road trip that saw him hitting .143 (1-for-7) entering the game. He ended up 2-for-5, suffering a tough break when his ninth-inning liner with a runner on first was hit right at Rockies rookie third baseman Elehuris Montero for an inning-ending double play.

The previous longest home run of the season was by the Marlins' Jesús Sánchez, who went 496 feet also at Coors Field.

The only blemish on Woodruff’s line was a third-inning solo shot to left from Montero.

“You can put this one up there [with my best of the season],” Woodruff said of his outing. “I was just executing, and I think if I can do that anywhere, I can throw like that all the time. Just make quality pitches.” 

But after Woodruff exited, the first four Colorado batters in the eighth doubled their team’s hit total, capped by a three-run blast from Yonathan Daza in his first game back from the injured list to bring the Rockies within a run. Randal Grichuk tied the game, 6-6, with a two-out solo shot to left.

“That was the effort that we needed from Woody,” manager Craig Counsell said. “Seven innings here, he pitched a heck of a game. He put us in a great spot to win the game. So I went to Luis [Perdomo], and it happened fast, obviously. Just nothing good happened after that, frankly.”

Woodruff questioned himself about his exit, but he didn’t second guess his manager or his teammates.

“Trust me, I don't feel good about it,” Woodruff said. “But that last inning, I had a quick inning, but the ball wasn't coming out the way I'd like, and I was kind of getting close to the end there. Honestly, it was the right time. Start a clean inning with a reliever. It just didn't go our way, and that's the sucky part.” 

After a scoreless ninth, Yelich started the 10th frame as the designated runner on second and scored on a Willy Adames double to left, but the Rockies tied it against reliever Taylor Rogers when Daza plated Ryan McMahon with his own double to left.

With one out and runners on first and third in the 10th, and the infield pulled in, Grichuk went deep, launching a 457-foot, three-run homer into the left-field bleachers.

“You just have to [bounce back], you don’t have a choice,” Yelich said of the latest in a series of tough losses. “It feels like the last few months, every couple of days there's a heartbreaking loss. But in this game, there's nothing you can do besides come back the next day and find a way to win that one.”