Living in the fast Lane: Thomas drives 3 HRs

June 4th, 2022

CINCINNATI -- Nationals outfielder Lane Thomas treated his personal cheering section to quite the spectacle during Friday night’s 8-5 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

With friends and family in attendance, Thomas had a career night at the plate, slugging three home runs -- coming on consecutive at-bats -- and becoming the first Nationals player to tally three long balls in a game since current Phillies outfielder Kyle Schwarber did so in June of last season.

The 26-year old began his night with a two-run home run off Reds starting pitcher Mike Minor in the second inning, before depositing his second just two innings later off reliever Vladimir Gutierrez.

Checking off the first multi-home run game of his career through just five innings, that alone marked a career night. But Thomas wasn't finished.

Just two innings later, Thomas provided an encore to his already impressive night at the plate. He went deep yet again -- this time off Reds pitcher Jeff Hoffman -- and put the Nationals up 8-2 in the top of the seventh inning.

“It was awesome,” Thomas said after the game. “Definitely the first time. I’m just glad we got the win.”

Thomas, along with his teammates in the dugout, noted the historic evening that was transpiring in front of them, and they even had their eyes set on a fourth homer.

After stepping to the plate with a chance for a fourth, Thomas saw his fly ball land in the glove of Reds center fielder Nick Senzel.

“[After hitting three,] you’re just kind of thinking about hitting another one … and then I didn't,” Thomas said. “But it’s all right. I tried.”

The career-day couldn't have come at a better time for the fourth-year big leaguer, who entered Friday’s game batting just .195 on the season. Thomas’ season high in home runs is seven, which he accomplished last season. He now has six this year, with two-thirds of the season in front of him.

Although Thomas couldn't quite muscle that last ball over the center-field fence, he made his family and friends’ trip over to southwest Ohio worthwhile.

Even more impressive, according to manager Dave Martinez, was that the three home runs came off three different pitchers.

“It's tough to get three different pitchers and hit the ball like he did. Needless to say, he’ll be batting second tomorrow,” Martinez joked after the game.

The three blasts, which totaled 1,128 feet according to Statcast, formed a 3-for-5, four-RBI day for the outfielder, and doubled his season home run total to six.

“[Thomas] was very aggressive [at the plate], which we like,” Martinez added. “He's a fastball hitter. When he gets the ball in the zone, whether it's a fastball or a slider, he hits the ball hard. Tonight was a perfect example.”