LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers have had 16 Rookies of the Year, including Jackie Robinson, for whom the award is now named. But none of them were shortstops, which Corey Seager could change this year.Seager became the first Dodgers rookie in 57 years to slug three homers in a game
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers have had 16 Rookies of the Year, including Jackie Robinson, for whom the award is now named. But none of them were shortstops, which Corey Seager could change this year.
Seager became the first Dodgers rookie in 57 years to slug three homers in a game when he did it to the Braves Friday night, powering the Dodgers to a 4-2 win in the homestand opener.
The Dodgers needed each of the solo shots Seager hit, as the veterans watched the rookies carry the load. Trayce Thompson's solo homer completed the scoring, with Kenta Maeda shaking off a hand bruise to pitch 6 1/3 innings for his second consecutive win.
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"It's one of those things, it doesn't matter where it's coming from," Seager said of the rookie contributions this year. "As long as it gets runs across, you get the wins, it doesn't matter."
Seager leads the Dodgers with 12 home runs, 31 RBIs, 36 runs scored, 112 total bases, as well as games played and at-bats.
"What he did, three homers, he put us on his back tonight," said manager Dave Roberts. "To believe he's 22 years old, it's something special."
The last Dodgers rookie with a three-homer game was Don Demeter in 1959 at the Los Angeles Coliseum, which Seager said he knew little about, other than that the Dodgers played there. The only other Dodgers shortstop to hit three homers in a game was Kevin Elster in 2000 in the first game ever played at what was then Pacific Bell Park in San Francisco.
"That's cool, one of the things that's exciting is to be part of the history here," said Seager, who homered twice to right-center off Julio Teheran and received a curtain call after taking lefty Hunter Cervenka the opposite way leading off the eighth. "That put a smile on my face, something you can really enjoy and soak it all in.
"It was fun tonight. One of those things where it didn't matter where it was thrown, it looked like it was on a tee or something," he said. "You see everything right out of the hand, one of those days when it just clicks, you're just locked in. That's a good feeling when you're hitting. I hope it will be that way tomorrow."
At 22 years, 38 days, Seager is the youngest shortstop to homer three times in a game and the sixth-youngest at any position behind Al Kaline, Eddie Mathews, Mel Ott, Hal Trosky and Boog Powell. He's the 15th shortstop to do it overall (20th time), the most recent being Jose Reyes for the Mets on Aug. 15, 2006.
While Seager went off on Friday night, he's been particularly hot for a month, batting .317 with six doubles, 10 homers and 19 RBIs in his last 30 games, dating to May 3. That included a two-homer game May 15 against St. Louis.
"These don't come around too much, so you want to enjoy them," he said. "We kind of needed a win after a tough road series. One of those things that brings teams together, looking for a spark."
Seager left the postgame media scrum hoping roommates Thompson and Joc Pederson, who bailed out of the clubhouse quickly to beat the Fireworks Night traffic, left him some pizza.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.