ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – Adolis García circled the deck with three home runs and another good chance to try for the fourth as Josh Sborz made a rare appearance at the plate for the Texas pitcher.
“Yeah, he had orders not to swing the bat,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said of the right-hander.
Sborz followed those orders, getting three strikes on four 55-mph sliders from Oakland infielder Jace Peterson with the Rangers en route to an 18-3 victory Saturday night.
Garcia’s second chance at his fourth homer ended the same way the first did: a double. The first double – in the seventh inning – drove in two runs, as did all three homers.
The 30-year-old from Cuba finished with a career-high eight RBIs, leading to his first three-homer game. He has seven homers and 28 RBIs this season.
García drove in two runs in the first, third and fifth – all at least 400 feet – as the Rangers built a 13-2 lead. A double in the seventh made it 15-2.
Garcia drove a 432-footer into the second deck in left field in the first inning of Japanese right-hander Shintaro Fujinami’s fourth career start for Oakland.
After the first homer, García was hit in the left hand by a 97 mph first pitch from Fujinami in the second inning. Plate umpire Jordan Baker quickly stepped in front of Garcia, who appeared flustered but walked to first base without any words exchanged with the pitcher.
García cleared the center field wall on a 419-foot drive off reliever Adrián Martinez in the third. Texas’ cleanup hitter went deep again off Martinez in the fifth, 401 feet into the Oakland bullpen in left-center.
It was the first three-homer game for Garcia and the first for the Rangers since Ronald Guzmán connected three times at Yankee Stadium on August 10, 2018.
“It was an incredible night,” García said through an interpreter. “I never expected something like this to happen, but I’m truly blessed and grateful for it.”
Sborz had to bat with a runner on first and one out in the eighth as designated hitter Brad Miller took first base with the play out.
After Sborz did his duty — though Bochy said the reliever wanted to swing the bat — García saw five of the same pitches at about the same speed from Peterson, lining the final down the line in left field.
“It’s tough when somebody tries to throw a little bit slower,” Garcia said. “My timing is not very good, but I wanted a home run in that at-bat. A double is just as good, so I’ll take it.”
Garcia’s final double could have scored Travis Jankowski, but he ran to third, saving Hall of Famer Ivan Rodríguez’s club record of nine RBIs in a game set in 1999.
“We’ve all been waiting in anticipation,” Bochy said of Garcia’s final two at-bats. “He’s got a chance to make history, and that’s pretty cool. You get two doubles, that’s not too shabby either. The total number of bases equals four home runs.”
García went 5 for 5 and became just the third player since 1901 with at least 16 total bases, three homers, eight RBI and five runs in a game. Others were Washington’s Anthony Rendon (2017) and Brooklyn’s Gil Hodges (1950).
“You just don’t see each other that often,” Bochy said. “What he did tonight is impressive. It’s fun to watch great athletes when they’re locked in like they were tonight. We were all rooting for him to get another one.”
García played the second game for three hosts in the major this season. Trayce Thompson of the Los Angeles Dodgers hit a three-hitter in a 10-1 win over Arizona on April 1.
The previous Texas player with eight RBIs in a game was Nelson Cruz on May 25, 2012 in Toronto. The club record of nine is held by Ivan Rodriguez.
García said he also hit three homers in a Triple-A game in 2018. Oh, and he said he had eight RBIs in that one, too.
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