Yelich hit a fourth-inning home run off the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard to reclaim the Major League lead, with 14, breaking a tie with the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger.
Not only that, but Yelich also tied Albert Pujols (2006) and Alex Rodriguez (2007) for the most home runs before May 1 in a single season in Major League history. It’s worth noting that Pujols finished second in NL MVP Award voting in '06, and Rodriguez won the AL MVP Award in '07.
“That’s pretty cool,” Yelich said after the game of the company he’s now in with homers before May 1. “Obviously those guys were pretty good baseball players. I haven’t really been thinking about it too much ... To be up there with those guys is definitely an honor.”
Saturday's deep fly also marked Yelich’s first road home run of the season, and his first regular-season road home run since Sept. 25, 2018, at St. Louis. Each of his last 16 regular-season home runs had come at home before Saturday.
He was the first player to hit at least his first 13 home runs of a season at home since Dante Bichette hit each of his first 17 at home in 1995, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
“I’m sure a lot of people were wondering if it’d ever happen again,” Yelich joked after the game. “At least I’ll have one this year, on the road.”
It was also Yelich’s first career home run off Syndergaard. Entering the night, Yelich had 18 career plate appearances against Syndergaard and just three hits, including a double.
In his NL MVP Award-winning season last year, Yelich had just 11 home runs in the entire first half before putting together a remarkable second-half performance.
“He’s had a bunch of big nights this season already,” manager Craig Counsell said after the game. “You enjoy watching players like this, that’s the big thing ... When you see a guy do it a lot, you lose some of the surprise. But it’s still not easy to do and you recognize that.”
Saturday’s team performance was a great example of how the rest of the Brewers can offer lineup protection for Yelich and help make the entire offensive output better.
That sort of lineup protection hadn’t been the norm over the past two weeks, when the Brewers went through a 13-game gauntlet against the Dodgers and Cardinals. In fact, this was just the second game all season where the team had more than four players with multiple hits in a game. Six players tallied multiple hits in the Brewers’ 13-10 win against the Cubs on April 5.
“It’s definitely a guy you want to get on base for,” Gamel said after the game of Yelich. “The way he’s been swinging the bat for the last few years, you just gotta get on base and then let him do the heavy lifting.”
“You never see him out of control. He’s in control of every at-bat, of every pitch, it’s impressive.”