WASHINGTON -- Six cans of beer were waiting in his locker after that historic day at Nationals Park, one for each hit Anthony Rendon collected during a performance for the ages. He had never recalled having a day like that before. Perhaps he had hit three home runs in one
WASHINGTON -- Six cans of beer were waiting in his locker after that historic day at Nationals Park, one for each hit Anthony Rendon collected during a performance for the ages. He had never recalled having a day like that before. Perhaps he had hit three home runs in one game during high school, but never had he drove in that many runs.
On April 30, Rendon went 6-for-6 with three home runs and 10 RBIs, pacing the Nationals' offense in a 23-5 victory over the Mets. That record-setting day has earned Rendon the Esurance MLB Award for Best Performance.
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Rendon edged out J.D. Martinez of the D-backs and Scooter Gennett of the Reds, both of whom hit four home runs in one game this season. MLB Esurance Awards take into account the regular season and postseason, so Rendon's all-around performance gave him the advantage over the other finalists. It's the third consecutive season a member of the Nationals has won the award for Best Performance. Max Scherzer, who was a finalist in the Best Pitcher category this year, won the previous two seasons for his dominant pitching performances.
A slow first month of the season saw Rendon enter the award-winning game without a home run and just five RBIs in his first 95 plate appearances.
Then, in the first inning, Rendon drove in a pair of runs with a two-run single. He hit his first homer of the day with a solo homer in the third inning then launched a three-run homer in the fourth inning. He just missed a grand slam in the fifth inning, but the hit traveled 388 feet and bounced off the right-center-field wall. Rendon served up the exclamation point with a solo home run in the eighth.
Rendon became one of two players in MLB history to have six hits and drive in 10 runs in a game. The other was Walker Cooper in 1949, although Cooper went 6-for-7. The 10 RBIs set a new single-game franchise record for the Nationals.
"I was aware of some of it," Rendon said. "And then [Stephen] Drew came up to me and, after I hit the double to right-center, I think that made it nine [RBIs]. He told me, 'That's a record. I'm glad I was here to watch it.' That's when I knew for sure."
That game served as a launching pad for Rendon, who would go on to finish sixth in the voting for the National League Most Valuable Player Award.
The Esurance MLB Awards annually honor MLB's greatest achievements as part of an industry-wide balloting process that includes five groups, each of which accounts for 20 percent of the overall vote: Media, front-office personnel, retired MLB players, fans at MLB.com and Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) members.
The MLB Awards are an all-inclusive program, encompassing the top players and performances from both the American and National Leagues from Opening Day through the end of the postseason.
Voting led off with seven categories (Personality of the Year; Best Defensive Player; Best Play, Offense; Best Play, Defense; Best Performance; Best Fan Catch; Best Player-Fan Interaction) on Sept. 18 at mlb.com/awards, serving as the grand entrance of a program that unveiled the Best Call, TV/Radio; Best Major Leaguer, Postseason; and Best Postseason Moment categories following the Fall Classic's final out.
The ninth inning of voting began around BBWAA Awards week, giving fans the opportunity to help determine the Best Major Leaguer, Pitcher, Rookie, Manager and Executive. Winners were announced on MLB Network and MLB.com on Friday night.
Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.