WASHINGTON — Anthony Rendon was part of a historic day at Nationals Park on Sunday, where the Nationals ravaged the Mets 23-5.
Rendon came into the day with zero home runs and five RBI on the season, a disappointing encore to his 20-home run, 85-RBI 2016 campaign. When the day was over, he was just the second player in MLB history–and the first since 1949–to have six hits, three home runs and 10 RBI in a single game.
Here’s what that looked like:
First inning: singled in two runs
Third inning: solo home run
Fourth inning: a three-run homer
Fifth inning: a three-run double
Seventh inning: single (no RBI)x
Eighth inning: solo home run
Rendon had never gone six-for-six in a game. He became the 13th player in major league history to drive in 10 or more runs in a game — the first since Garret Anderson did it for the Angels in 2007.
In the process, he raised his batting average from .226 to .278, becoming just the fifth National with three home runs in a single game, joining Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Dunn and Alfonso Soriano.
Washington finished with a season-high 23 hits and scored the most runs in the history of the Expos/Nationals franchise. The Nationals’ seven homers were their most since the team moved from Montreal to Washington in 2005.
And when the dust settled on one of the best performances in franchise history, Rendon really didn’t want to talk about it. Sure, he wanted to talk about his teammates, but not acknowledge his contributions.
“It’s good to be a part of,” he told MASN. “Our pitching was, y’know, it was amazing. They kept them down to five runs, so as long as we scored six, that’s all we had to do to win.”
They scored nearly four times that many, the biggest offensive onslaught in MLB since 2007. Asked if he had ever had a day like that, at any level, Rendon declined.
“I may have had three home runs in high school,” Rendon said, “but never like that with the RBIs.”
So what was the secret sauce? Rendon must have known that he was on the edge of glory when he got out of bed this morning?
“No. I feel the same,” he said. “Exactly what I’ve had the entire month. Your guess is as good as mine.”
This type of performance has only been duplicated once in MLB history, by Reds catcher Walker Cooper. On July 6, 1949, he went six-for-seven with three home runs and 10 RBI against the Cubs.
Manager Dusty Baker, who has been around the game his entire life, did not withhold praise for the performance.
“It can take you from .240 to .280 in a hurry,” Baker told the media. “Especially this early in the season and it couldn’t have happened to a finer guy. I think last year he hit one run home and maybe one RBI the whole month, but he finished extremely strong this month in April.”
But true to form, Rendon kept his answers and focus team-oriented.
“Obviously, you want to help the guys because it’s a team game in the end,” Rendon told the media with a shrug. “It’s not like tennis. It’s not golf. There’s nine guys out there on the field. For all of us to come together, that’s what it’s going to take for us to win. That’s more important.”