Bring out the dumbbells! Yoshida homers twice, hits grand slam in 8th

Japanese slugger's two-HR inning continued the Red Sox's knack for comeback wins

April 23rd, 2023

MILWAUKEE -- couldn’t recall a time in his baseball life where he had hit two home runs in one inning.

But in the eighth inning Sunday at American Family Field in Milwaukee, one turn with the Red Sox’s celebratory inflatable dumbbells just wasn’t enough.

Yoshida hit two homers -- including his first MLB grand slam -- in the eighth as the Red Sox scored nine times to knock off the Brewers, 12-5. He became the first player to hit two home runs, including at least one grand slam, in one inning since Edwin Encarnación did so with the Blue Jays on July 26, 2013.

What’s more, he’s only the fourth Red Sox player to hit multiple home runs in an inning, joining Hall of Famer David Ortiz (Aug. 12, 2008), Nomar Garciaparra (July 23, 2002) and Ellis Burks (Aug. 27, 1990).

“I'm really honored to record this,” Yoshida said through an interpreter. “I'm really honored to [be alongside] Red Sox legends.”

He also happened to pull off the feat on the 24-year anniversary of former Cardinal Fernando Tatis hitting two grand slams in one inning against the Dodgers.

The Red Sox trailed 4-3 entering the eighth, a deficit they quickly erased on a solo homer by to lead off the frame. Yoshida made it back to back against Brewers reliever Matt Bush, crushing a 374-foot blast to right field that gave Boston the lead.

The Red Sox tacked on three insurance runs by the time Yoshida’s spot in the lineup came up again with the bases loaded. And when Milwaukee’s Javy Guerra left him a slider on the inner part of the plate, he made him pay, sending it 407 feet to right field for the slam.

“Masa, he doesn’t miss those,” manager Alex Cora said of the two homers, which had 108.9 and 105.4 mph exit velocities.

It was an encouraging performance for both Yoshida and the Red Sox. He was one of their top signings this past offseason but has gotten off to a slow start at the plate his first few weeks in Major League Baseball.
Yoshida entered the day hitting .213/.324/.295 with only three extra-base hits in 16 games. His average exit velocity ranked in the ninth percentile, and his hard hit rate ranked in the 34th percentile.
However, there were a few signs recently hinting towards a breakout performance.
“Intent,” Cora said. “Staying the other way. He swings at the right ones, obviously. There are some adjustments, and there's things that he knows he needs to do to start hitting the ball hard in the air. He got two pitches today. The second one, that was fun to watch.”

Yoshida mentioned an adjustment to open his batting stance slightly to help see pitchers with both of his eyes better. He feels more comfortable timing-wise now and felt a day like Sunday coming.
“This is a really good day for me,” Yoshida said. “But still, we are in the beginning of the season. So, I would like to keep preparing, keep playing hard during the season.”

The Red Sox improved to 7-3 over their last 10 games. They’ve won three straight series for the first time since last June, and Sunday continued one of their more impressive early-season trends: showing a knack for pulling off comeback victories.

Boston entered the day first in Major League Baseball with eight comeback wins. Nine of the Red Sox's 12 wins this season have been of the come-from-behind variety, but only one other came when trailing as late as Sunday. They were down 2-1 to the Twins after seven innings Tuesday and won 5-4 in 10 innings.

“Shouldn’t be a surprise by now,” Turner said. “We’ve been seeing it all year. It doesn’t matter what the score is. These guys don’t give anything away, keep fighting, clawing, taking good at-bats. We’re never out of a game.”

“That's our team, that's our chemistry and that's how we are,” third baseman said Saturday through interpreter Carlos Villoria -- after Boston nearly pulled out another comeback win. “No matter how many runs we're down, we'll fight back. That's our mentality. That's something that we're not going to stop doing. We're going to fight until the last out, even if we’re down a lot of runs or one run.”