Christian Villanueva put his name in the history books on Tuesday night as he led the San Diego Padres to an 8-4 win over the Colorado Rockies.
The Mexican third baseman went 3-3 with three home runs and five RBI to make up most of the Friars’ offense on the night.
The only way the Guadalajara native was kept from going yard was by being hit by a pitch in the sixth inning by Scott Oberg. The win was nice, but Villanueva did get into an elite corps with this performance, and here is exactly what he accomplished:
Only eight times in the history of the San Diego Padres had a player hit three home runs in one game. The feat has been accomplished by the following seven players: Nate Colbert in 1972, Steve Finley twice in 1997, Ken Caminiti in 1998, Brett Boone in 2000, Phil Nevin in 2001, and Hunter Renfroe in 2017. Villanueva now joins this elite group of players as the eighth in franchise history to have this type of offensive display.
The 26-year-old was just the second-ever Padres’ rookie to accomplish this feat, with Hunter Renfroe being the first to do it just last year. Oddly enough, Villanueva hit his first MLB home run on that same day that Renfroe went yard three times.
“El Tapatio” also joins an elite corps of countrymen, as only three other Mexican-born players had ever hit three dingers in one game. The three to do it before Villanueva were Veracruz native Beto Avila, Oaxaca native Vinny Castilla, and Sonora native Erubiel Durazo, who was the last to do it in 2004.
MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell also dug up some interesting stats on Villanueva’s night. Per Cassavell, the 26-year-old rookie is the eighth player in history to hit home runs in all three of his recorded at-bats, the last player to do it being Lucas Duda against the Friars in 2015. The Guadalajara native also joins Bobby Estalella and Jarrett Parker as the only players that have games with three home runs in their first 14 career games.
The Mexican infielder has only played in 14 career MLB games and now has seven home runs in just 39 career big league at-bats. The Rockies’ Trevor Story holds the record for the most home runs in a player’s first 14 career games with eight, but Villanueva joins four players that also hit seven. Those four players are Rhys Hoskins, Trey Mancini, Dino Restelli, and Carlos Delgado.
Homers in first 14 career games, all time:
Trevor Story: 8
Christian Villanueva: 7
Carlos Delgado: 7
Rhys Hoskins: 7
Dino Restelli: 7
Trey Mancini: 7
— AJ Cassavell (@AJCassavell) April 4, 2018
The promising, Mexican talent helped the Padres get their first win of the 2018 season and has now secured a starting job for at least a few games. Villanueva also did much more than that and made the history books with this performance and put the Friars in the national spotlight for the night.