#MLBPlayers411 | J.D. Martinez
While the country was taking a day off on Monday in observance of the Labor Day holiday, Arizona's J.D. Martinez was taking aim at Dodger Stadium's bleachers.
Batting cleanup for the first time since joining the Diamondbacks on July 19, Martinez belted four home runs, which tied the major-league record. He finished his historic night at Chavez Ravine with six RBIs, leading Arizona to its 11th straight win.
One of the most difficult single-game feats – it's only been achieved 18 times in MLB history – Martinez joins the group that includes all-time greats Lou Gehrig, Mike Schmidt and Willie Mays. It was the second time this season a major leaguer had clubbed four home runs, as Cincinnati's Scooter Gennett did it on June 6.
“I don't know how to explain it,” J.D. Martinez told the Arizona Republic. “It's one of those things where you work real hard and find that perfect swing and find one of those days where everything just kind of lines up. Today, I felt like, was one of those days. I was seeing the ball well, and when I was swinging I was hitting them."
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound, 30-year-old outfielder was traded to Arizona just before the interleague trade deadline to bulk up the middle of the D-Backs' lineup for a postseason run. This season Martinez has hit .285 in 97 games with 34 home runs and 79 RBIs with the Tigers and Diamondbacks.
“He knows his swing and knows what he wants to do up there,” hitting coach Dave Magadan told the Republic earlier this month. “It's much more than anybody else I've ever seen. He turned his career around. I'm certainly not going to argue with success.”
To be sure, Martinez' power stroke has been a product of recent seasons. The Miami-born outfielder was released by the Astros in March 2013 after three seasons and picked up a couple days later by Detroit where his power began to surface.
Martinez, who hit 24 home runs in three seasons with Houston, belted 99 during his three and a half seasons with Detroit, including a career-high 38 in 2015, the year he made the American League All-Star team.
As the Diamondbacks have taken a stranglehold of the NL's top wild card position by winning 11 games in a row – they currently have a six-and-a-half game cushion over Colorado – Martinez has heated up at the plate as well.
In his last eight games, Martinez has batted .400 (12-for-30) with 14 runs scored, eight home runs and 14 RBIs. He has scored a run in eight straight games, tying the longest streak by an Arizona player in the past decade.
Martinez, who has averaged a homer every nine at-bats in the second half, has feasted on left-handed pitching this season, and boasts the third-best batting average against southpaws in the majors (min. 250 at-bats). He is batting .400 with 10 home runs and 22 RBIs in 36 games against lefties. His first home run on Monday night was off of leftie starter Rich Hill.
Martinez, who was originally drafted by the Astros in the 20th round in 2009 out of Nova Southeastern University, will be a free agent following this season.
To see more photos of Martinez, click here.
To read more #MLBPlayers411, click here.