CHICAGO -- An afternoon that opened with Matt Carpenter tying Lou Brock in the record books ended with the Cardinals first baseman rewriting them.Carpenter became the first player in franchise history -- and just the second in Major League history -- to hit three home runs and two doubles in
CHICAGO -- An afternoon that opened with Matt Carpenter tying Lou Brock in the record books ended with the Cardinals first baseman rewriting them.
Carpenter became the first player in franchise history -- and just the second in Major League history -- to hit three home runs and two doubles in a game. Carpenter did it all in the first six innings of Friday's game against the Cubs, too, along with scoring four runs and driving in a career-high seven. The Cardinals won, 18-5.
Until Friday, no player had ever tallied five extra-base hits before the seventh inning.
"A day to remember, for sure," Carpenter said afterward. "I'm having a hard time coming up with words to describe a day like this."
Perhaps historical context will help.
On the 14-year anniversary of Jose Pujols' first three-homer performance at Wrigley Field, Carpenter became the first Cardinals leadoff hitter to go deep three times in a game. He's the 11th player in the past 110 years to tally five extra-base hits and the first to do so from the leadoff spot.
Carpenter's 16 total bases are also a record for a leadoff batter, breaking the mark of 15 set by the Dodgers' Davey Lopes at Wrigley Field on Aug. 20, 1974. The feat ties the Cardinals record set by Mark Whiten in his memorable four-homer game on Sept. 7, 1993. Carpenter now has two games this season of at least 12 total bases, the first time that's been accomplished by a Cards player since Pujols in 2006.
Carpenter became the first Cardinals leadoff hitter since Augie Bergamo in 1945 to drive in seven runs, and he tied Brock's franchise record with his 21st career leadoff homer. It was his sixth this season, establishing a single-season franchise record.
Carpenter joins Chicago's Kristopher Bryant as the only players in baseball history with a three-homer, two-double game.
"It's so impressive, and you take in the fact with how he started the year," said Bryant, who started at third base for the Cubs on Friday. "I think it was 150 at-bats, and he was at [a] .150 [batting average]. Now he's turned it around. It's fun to see. It stinks when it's against us, but he's a heck of a player. Now, there's two of us. He's a pretty cool guy to share it with."
Carpenter's year got off to an inauspicious start, as he slashed .140/.286/.272 in his first 140 plate appearances. Since then, Carpenter has pulled his season OPS up to .958 by hitting .346/.435/.738.
Carpenter began his historic performance by stinging Cubs starter Jonathan Lester with his third leadoff homer in the team's past four games. An inning later, Carpenter stretched the Cardinals' lead by blasting another two-out pitch from Lester, this one landing 421 feet away. Carpenter had entered the game 7-for-50 with one home run in his career against Lester.
Carpenter tallied both of his doubles during the Cardinals' seven-run fourth, and he secured his first career three-homer game after deciding during the top of the sixth to take one more at-bat before finishing out the day as a spectator. He has now homered in four straight games for the first time in his career.
Since Statcast™ started tracking launch angle in 2015, no player had previously hit three home runs in a game with a launch angle greater than 35 degrees until Friday. Carpenter's final home run had a launch angle of 49 degrees, which is tied for the second-highest on a home run in the past four years. The ball had a 2-percent hit probability.
All five of Carpenter's hits had an exit velocity of 95-plus mph, and four of them came with two strikes. The exception was his third home run, which came when Carpenter ambushed a first-pitch fastball from Brian Duensing. Carpenter, who had hit 16 of his first 20 homers off righties, connected for all three on Friday against left-handed pitchers.
"Just a joy to watch and be a part of it," interim manager Mike Shildt said. "That's a special day."
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.