PHOENIX -- Forget three homers for a second, Mike Yastrzemski had never even hit two in a big league game before. He couldn't remember ever hitting three in a minor league game, or at Vanderbilt, or in college or even Little League.
"Not even in a video game," Yastrzemski said late Friday night.
MLB rookies are putting up video game numbers this season, and the 28-year-old outfielder has joined the party. His three-homer game Friday helped the Giants edge the Diamondbacks 10-9 in extra innings and made him the first Giants leadoff hitter in history to hit three in a game.
Yastrzemski never hit more than 15 in a minor league season with the Orioles. Counting his time in Triple-A with the Giants, he now has 28 homers across two levels in just 110 games this season.
The story is a familiar one in modern baseball. Yastrzemski knew he had to change his profile after last season, so he spent time making minor tweaks while working out at Vanderbilt with former teammate and current Cub Tony Kemp. A few new drills were added, but not to increase the homer count. Yastrzemski was just trying to put the barrel on the ball more consistently and keep the bat in the strike zone longer.
The results have been stunning. Yastrzemski should sail past the 20-homer mark, which hasn't been hit by a Giant since Brandon Crawford in 2015. He needs just one more to tie Buster Posey's total from his rookie year.
The third homer last night showed that Yastrzemski still is learning and making adjustments. Earlier this year Yastrzemski expressed regret about letting some hittable pitches get by him early in counts.
"Those are the pitches you can't let hit the mitt," hitting coach Alonzo Powell told him.
When Yastrzemski came up in the 11th inning Friday, he was ready to be aggressive. Yoan Lopez grooved a first-pitch fastball and it left the park at 106 mph, landing 438 feet away in center field.
"It's been fun to watch what he's been able to do," center fielder Kevin Pillar said.