CINCINNATI -- When the Reds claimed Scooter Gennett off waivers from the Brewers on March 28 to be a utility player, no one envisioned him eventually seizing the everyday spot at second base this season.That's what has made Gennett's historical home run feats an even bigger surprise in 2017. His
CINCINNATI -- When the Reds claimed Scooter Gennett off waivers from the Brewers on March 28 to be a utility player, no one envisioned him eventually seizing the everyday spot at second base this season.
That's what has made Gennett's historical home run feats an even bigger surprise in 2017. His latest came during the Reds' 5-4 loss to the Red Sox on Friday night. Gennett slugged a first-inning grand slam, which gave him a single-season club record of four.
"It's sensational. Some people are just extremely comfortable in that environment," Reds manager Bryan Price said.
Grand slams mean 40% off pizza
The slam also put Gennett in elite company with Yankees legend Lou Gehrig.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Gennett is the only player in Major League history with a four-homer game and three-plus grand slams in the same season. But Gennett and Gehrig are the only players with a four-homer game and four grand slams in any season. Gehrig had a four-homer game in 1932 and he hit four grand slams in 1934.
"That sounds crazy," Gennett said when told about the trivia. "That's baseball, man. Anything can happen on any given day or any season. I'm just extremely blessed and very thankful to have the opportunity to play every day -- and crazy stuff can happen in this game."
Gennett became the 17th player in big league history -- and the first for the Reds -- to produce a four-homer game on June 6 vs. the Cardinals. Coincidentally, he also wears No. 4, the same number as Gehrig did for New York.
"Scooter, fortunately for us, has been a really good topic to talk about for virtually the entire season," Price said. "Sometimes, it's been the flair for the dramatic. Sometimes, it's the big home run."
The National League record for grand slams in a season is five, done first by Hall of Famer Ernie Banks for the Cubs in 1955 and equaled by Jose Pujols for the Cardinals in 2009. The single-season Major League record of six was set by Don Mattingly for the Yankees in 1987 and then tied by Travis Hafner of the Indians in 2006.
Cincinnati's previous grand slam record of three in one season was done six times, most recently by Devin Mesoraco in 2014. The team's eight grand slams for the year is one away from the 2002 club record of nine.
"In big-time situations, he comes up with a big-time hit," Reds pitcher Sal Romano said of Gennett. "It's nice to have a guy like that on your team. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough tonight."
In only 431 at-bats this season, Gennett is batting .297/.345/.548 with 27 homers and 93 RBIs. His career highs were 14 homers and 56 RBIs for Milwaukee last season. He supplanted Jose Peraza as the regular second baseman on July 19. On Aug. 14, in a 15-5 loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field, Gennett became the only player besides Babe Ruth (1921) to hit his 20th homer of the season and pitch in the same game.
The Reds were trailing, 1-0, in the bottom of the first inning when their first three batters of the game reached against Rick Porcello. The first pitch to Gennett was a 92-mph fastball that was up and over the plate. The ball was tattooed with an exit velocity of 105.5 mph, according to Statcast™, and traveled 414 feet as it landed in the right-field seats.
"I think, just as I've matured in baseball, I've learned to slow things down in those situations and not try to get too pumped up," Gennett said. "I really try to slow down and relax and maybe focus a little more."
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.