Sept. 3, 2020:
After it happened for the first time ever in 1961 and then again in 1963 and 1964, no team would hit four consecutive home runs for another 42 years. Then in 2006, the Dodgers began what has become part of an overall homer barrage that has included back-to-back-to-back-to-back clouts six times.
Until Aug. 16, 2020, the Nationals had been the only team to hit four home runs in a row twice — in 2017 and in 2019. That day in a game against the Cardinals, the White Sox joined them as two-timers, having done it the first time in 2008. Rookie Roel Ramirez of the Cards, in his MLB debut, was victim of the four-straight 2020 homers. He became the sixth pitcher to give up four in a row. Two of those six did it again the Nats.
None of the four Nationals who hit the first four-straight homers were among the second group of four players. The 2017 four-in-a-row were hit at home on July 27 against the Milwaukee Brewers. The four in 2019 came on June 9 in San Diego against the Padres.
The first four-in-a-row were hit by Brian Goodwin, Wilmer Difo, Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman. Later in that same inning – the third — Anthony Rendon homered. All five came off Brewers right-hander Michael Blazek. He had already yielded a homer to Harper in the first. The Nats scored seven runs in the third and six more in the fourth. Zimmerman joined Harper with two round-trippers. Max Scherzer went six in a 15-2 rout. In 2019, the beleaguered Blazek pitched briefly for the Nats. He’s still the only pitcher to have given up five homers in an inning.
Howie Kendrick, Trea Turner, Adam Eaton and Rendon hit the four-in-a-row in 2019 against the Padres in San Diego. The homers came in the eighth inning of what had been a 1-1 tie. All four were hit off former National Craig Stammen, who gave up for the four dingers in a seven-pitch stretch. The Nats won, 5-2. Stephen Strasburg allowed a run over seven innings for the win. Hendrick’s homer came pinch-hitting for Strasburg.
On June 8, 1961, the Milwaukee Braves were the first team in history to hit four consecutive home runs. Two Hall of Famers, Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews, and two other noted sluggers, Joe Adcock and Frank Thomas, were the four who went deep against two Reds pitchers in Cincinnati. Despite the seventh-inning power display, the Reds already had scored 10 runs and held on to win, 10-8. Mathews hit another homer earlier in the game, as did losing pitcher Warren Spahn.
On July 31, 1963, long-time Senators’ pitcher Pedro Ramos was among the four Indians who hit consecutive homers off Paul Foytack of the Angels in Cleveland. On May 2, 1964, two former Senators – Harmon Killebrew and Bob Allison – joined Twins teammates Tony Oliva and Jimmie Hall in hitting four balls over the fence.
A version of this appeared in the December 2020 Squibber, the quarterly online newsletter of the Bob Davids chapter of SABR.