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Story of His Life: Three home runs and jumping into the MVP conversation

Patrick Lyons Avatar
September 9, 2018

DENVER – The first words out of Bud Black’s mouth Wednesday night summing up Trevor Story’ record-setting three home-run game:

“That was awesome, wasn’t it?”

The trio of home runs marked only the seventeenth time a Rockies player had accomplished such a feat.

Immediately after the game, Carlos Gonzalez wanted to mark the occasion with a celebratory beverage and made sure he was the first one to greet Story in the clubhouse.

“I was just waiting in the hallway with two beers,” he said. “Just waiting for my guy after a thousand interviews he just did.”

Every home run by the first-time All-Star was even more impressive than the last. Each one either tied the game or put the club ahead by a run during this most critical point of the season.  

But, to Trevor Story, it was just game 139.

“I’m honestly more excited by the win at this point. Every win from here on out is huge.”

Story entered the game batting .295 with 28 home runs and 92 runs batted in. His twenty-five stolen bases placed him tenth best in all of baseball and within striking distance of becoming the first player to join the 30/30 club this season.

Tied with Nolan Arenado for runs batted in, but behind in average and home runs to start the final game of the Giants series, Story moved ahead in two categories (batting average and runs batted in), while tying for a third (home runs) after the offensive explosion.

He also moved ahead of Arenado in Wins Above Replacement and may have even pulled ahead of his teammate in the MVP debate.

According to Gonzalez, a strong argument should be made for Story earning the league’s top honor:

“He’s definitely getting better and he’s in the MVP conversation. He’s carrying the team, playing tremendous defense. He can do it all on the field.”

The First Home Run

Story stepped to the plate with two outs and nobody on in the bottom of the first inning against Giants starting pitcher Albert Suarez. The score was tied 1-1 after Arenado’s sacrifice fly scored DJ LeMahieu during the previous plate appearance.

Suarez worked down-and-away against Story and quickly got ahead 0-2. Story laid off two four-seam fastballs destined for the inner part of the plate to draw the count at 2-2.

Pitch number five was an 87-mph slider thrown inside that lacked enough movement to creep over the outer edge of the plate, but Story offered with a swing to protect himself from a called third strike.

Story’s hands moved so quick that lost balanced and stumbled to the ground, sending his bat flying from his left hand. By the time he got to his feet, the ball was traveling over the left-field bleachers 459-feet for his 29th homer of the season.  

Gonzalez recognized the type of athleticism required to not only hit this pitch but to do so for a homer.

“That ball was on the way to hitting his back foot and still pulled his hands in to drive it over the fence for 450 feet.”

Hit with an exit velocity of 110.0-mph and a launch angle of 28 degrees, the home run landed on the concourse and bounced out of the stadium on one hop into the employee parking lot.

After the game, he discussed the awkwardness of the swing.

“I had never fallen down like that. On a swing and miss? For sure. It was a two-strike count. I wasn’t trying to hit a home run. I was just trying to hit something hard.”

In delivering such a memorable stroke, the Irving, Texas native resembled another notable slugger from the Lone Star State.

“I guess it was cool because (Adrian) Beltre was one of my guys growing up and that’s kind of his thing. Mine wasn’t as smooth because I pretty much fell on my face. But that was special,” he said.

The Second Home Run

With the Rockies trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the fourth, Story came to the plate with the bases clear again.

He fouled back the first pitch before taking a fastball down for ball one. On the third pitch, Suarez decided to throw down-and-in once more, albeit, with his four-seam fastball. The Giants hurler turned it up to 92-mph, his fastest pitch since the first inning, and placed the pitch in nearly the same spot as the one Story deposited into the parking lot during the first at-bat.

Once again, Story launched the offering into the cool, Denver atmosphere to tie the score at three with his second home run of the game and the tenth multi-homer game of his young career.

Statcast calculated the ball traveled 505-feet, making his 30th homer of the season the longest one in the majors since the institution of the technology in all thirty stadiums in 2015.

Story wasn’t even aware of his record-breaking distance until the postgame press conference, but he acknowledged the special group to which he suddenly was a member.

“A lot of big home runs (have been hit) here. A lot of big power guys. I’ll take it, I guess,” he said.

Black was particularly taken aback by Story’s prodigious power during those early at-bats.

“The first two were majestic. Those were two of the longest ones I’ve seen here. They were up on the concourse. I haven’t seen the replays of those. Just from our dugout and from where those landed, those were bombs.”

As Gonzalez held court with reporters in front of his locker after the game, he continued to rave about the recording-breaking homer.

“As soon as it came off the bat, I was like, ‘Oh my God. That’s going to hit the scoreboard. That’s going to go straight to my Lamborghini in the parking lot!’ It was awesome. I can’t be more proud of him,” Gonzalez said.

The Third Home Run

The crowd came alive to greet Story at the plate for his third at-bat in the sixth inning, with a sense that something even more memorable was coming.

With an opportunity to become the first Rockies player to hit three home runs in a game since Nolan Arenado on July 19, 2017, Story swung at the first pitch, an 86-mph changeup from Suarez, to give the Rockies a 4-3 lead.

Story did his best to summarize this third at-bat:

“When you have a night like tonight, it’s hard to explain. You kind of get these feelings and intuitions. You just try to act on them and not try to outthink yourself. For me, I was just trying to keep it simple. Just trying to go up there and see something up. I think it was a changeup that was a little bit up in the zone and just try to hit a line drive and it went out, thankfully.”

The Coors Field faithful, numbering 24,790 on a cool night near the end of summer, would not stop cheering their shortstop even after he had made his way into the dugout. The cheering wouldn’t stop until he made a curtain call.

Story’s achievement in and of itself is impressive and jaw-dropping, but considering the fashion in which he accomplished such an impressive feat and the time of year in which it came, it’s all the more remarkable.  

Possibly the most notable quote of the night came from Black, who added one last thought about his shortstop:

“He might do this again. He’s capable. He’s that good of a player.”

If the Rockies are going to keep the Dodgers and Diamondbacks at bay to win their first NL West division crown, Trevor Story just may need to make history again.

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