When a player has a three-hit game, it’s a pretty big deal: 9 times out of 10, he’ll find his name in the headline of the game recap, will be named the Player of the Game in the YES postgame show, and will be featured as the lede story by all the sports journalists, bloggers, and everyone else who writes about baseball. Barring a historic pitching performance, a walk-off hit, or shenanigans akin to the Rangers-Capitals fights last night, that batter with three hits becomes the story of the game.
If having a three-hit game is a big deal, then what is it when a player has three hits in three straight games? While I’d be hesitant to call it historic, it doesn’t happen often: only five Yankees have accomplished this feat in the last thirteen seasons. Who are they? Let’s take a look down memory lane.
Derek Jeter, 8/16/2009 — 8/18/2009
We could make an entire article listing times that The Captain had three consecutive three-hit games. It’s been accomplished by a Yankee 10 times since 1999 — four of them were done by Derek Jeter. Since we’re only discussing the previous five by the team, however, he only barely makes the list, as his last such streak came during the final years of his career.
Nonetheless, that last occasion was historic. With a double off Seattle’s Doug Fister on August 16th, Jeter passed Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio for the most hits by a shortstop, a record he still holds — and probably will hold for a while, as the leading active shortstop, Elvis Andrus, is roughly 1,700 hits behind him.
Jeter extended his run to three straight three-hit games with a go-ahead, sixth-inning single on August 18th in Oakland. He actually ended up one hit shy of five consecutive three-hit games, as after snapping his streak with a two-hit outing on August 19th, he rebounded for three more knocks during a 20-11 smackdown of the Red Sox on August 20th. That’s a future Hall of Famer for you.
Robinson Canó, 6/6/2010 — 6/9/2010
It was a good four days for the Yankees in 2010, as after salvaging the final game of a three-game set in Toronto with a 4-3 victory, they took a day off and then captured two against the Orioles in Baltimore by 12-7 and 4-2 margins. At that time, Canó was in the middle of an exceptional season that saw him finish a career-best third in AL MVP voting.
The sweet-swinging lefty was constantly on the bases, notching nine hits (albeit only one extra-base hit) and two walks in 14 plate appearances. In the process, Canó drove in three runs, including the game-winning single in the eighth on June 6th, and scored three. All in all, a solid few days — and the beginning of a 10-game hitting streak that saw Canó lift his season line up to .372/.416/.617. Not too bad.
Alfonso Soriano, 8/13/2013 — 8/16/2013
Technically speaking, Alfonso Soriano shouldn’t be on this list, as he didn’t have three hits for three straight games; he had three hits for four straight games! Single-handedly keeping the 2013 Yankees afloat after coming over from the Cubs prior to the trade deadline, Soriano had himself a fantastic month in those four days, blasting five home runs (including a grand slam), driving in 18 (!) runs, scoring nine times, and somehow walking only once; this all combined for an OPS that was an otherworldly 2.361.
For those who don’t remember this stretch, it’s hard to put into words just how dominant he was. Simply reciting statistics doesn’t seem to do it justice, even seemingly-ridiculous ones, like, “Soriano had six RBIs after an RBI double in the second inning on August 14th” and “Soriano had … the most runs batted in over a four-day period in the history of Major League Baseball,” — the latter of which is an actual line from the Pinstripe Alley recap of the August 16th win over Boston. Across those four days, he was must-watch TV.
In the days that followed, it took Soriano 17 games to equal the number of hits from those four days, 20 to match the number of home runs, and 21 to match the number of RBIs. Like I said, he had a pretty good month in those four days.
Gio Urshela, 8/12/2019 — 8/13/2019
It’s rare enough to have a three-hit game, but on August 12th, 2019, Gio Urshela had two three-hit games, courtesy of a doubleheader against the Baltimore Orioles. He then followed up the next day with a similar performance — unfortunately, that third game was a night game, preventing him from having three three-hit games in under twenty-four hours.
Urshela had a fantastic three games, drilling a 461-foot home run in the first game on the 12th, adding to it two doubles, scoring five runs and driving in three more. But remember how I said that it often takes something historic to overshadow a three-hit game? Urshela’s streak was ultimately overshadowed by Gleyber Torres’ absolute dominance over the Orioles in the 2019 season, as he drilled three home runs in the doubleheader, bringing him within one of Lou Gehrig’s record of 14 against one team in a season.
Giancarlo Stanton, 4/28/2021 — 4/30/2021
And so we reach the most recent of these insane three-game stretches. In the midst of Stanton’s ongoing 11-game hitting streak that saw his batting average increase more than 150 points (from .158 the morning of April 23rd to .314 entering today), Stanton finished the month of April with three straight three-hit games.
In those three games — a pair of blowout victories with an extra-innings loss sandwiched in between — Stanton went 9-for-15 with a double and four runs scored, good for a .600/.600/.667 slash line (1.267 OPS). Ironically, to give a sense of just how good Stanton has been this in this streak, that stat line happens to be worse than his hitting streak as a whole — he posted a .477/.489/.818 slash going into last night’s action, good for a 1.307 OPS.
Furthermore, after only having one hit on May 2nd, Stanton came back with a four-hit game on Tuesday and a three-hit game last night (with a big home run in each game). Yes, that means that, this afternoon, Stanton will be going for his third straight three-hit game for the second consecutive week.
Not too shabby of a hitting streak, I’d say.