The Red Sox took 2 of 3 games from the Rays in the just completed Fenway series with Boston’s sometimes spotty offense firing up to outscore Tampa Bay 21-16 in the 3-game set.
There were certainly some Red Sox offensive highlights over the weekend series, but none so bright as the day 25-year old rookie Travis Shaw had on Saturday.
Shaw, appearing in just his 10th MLB game ever, went 4-for-4 with 5 runs scored. His day included a single, a double, a walk, and 2 home runs. His 11 total bases were the most ever by a Red Sox player in one of his first ten games since at least 1914. His 5 runs scored were the most by any Red Sox since Dustin Pedroia‘s 5 on August 12, 2008 against the Rangers.
No rookie had ever scored more than 3 runs against the Rays in Tampa Bay franchise history.
Shaw became the first Red Sox player with at least 2 home runs and 5 runs in a game since Walt Dropo on June 8, 1950, a 29-4 Red Sox win over the St. Louis Browns. Dropo was also the last Red Sox rookie to score 5 runs.
The home runs, coming in the 3rd and 8th innings, were the first of Shaw’s major league career. The last MLB player to collect his 1st home run in a multi-HR game was the Jose Abreu of the White Sox on April 8, 2014. No Boston player has done it since Ryan Lavarnway on September 27, 2011.
A triple for the cycle, instead a home run
What Shaw didn’t do is hit for the cycle. He needed the triple but instead clubbed his 2nd home run of the day. “It’s obviously in your head,” Shaw said after the game, “That’s the only thing left, but I’ll definitely take the home run,” he told WEEI’s radio broadcasters.
Red Sox utilityman Brock Holt hit for the cycle earlier this season, the first Boston player to do so since John Valentin on June 6, 1996. The Sox have had 2 players hit for the cycle in the same season only once before when Bobby Doerr and Bob Johnson pulled it off May 17 and July 6, 1944, respectively.
In 2012 the Diamondbacks Aaron Hill hit for the cycle twice in the same season, on June 18 and 29. Hill was the 2nd MLB player to accomplish the rare feat twice in the same season. The other was Babe Herman on May 18 and July 24, 1931 for the Brooklyn Robins, which would later become the Brooklyn and then Los Angeles Dodgers.
The last club with two different players hitting for the cycle the same season was the 2009 Twins, with Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel collecting the achievements on May 22 and April 17, respectively. The Twins’ Lyman Bostock and Larry Hisle also hit for the cycle in the 1976 season.
The then-Philadelphia Athletics had 3 players hit for the cycle in 1933: Jimmie Foxx, Pinky Higgins, and Mickey Cochrane. Three years later, Hall of Famer Foxx would go on to play 7 seasons for the Red Sox.