Ranking Pablo Sandoval and Every 3-Homer Game in Postseason History

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistOctober 25, 2012

Ranking Pablo Sandoval and Every 3-Homer Game in Postseason History

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    Pablo Sandoval joined elite company Wednesday night, as he homered three times in the San Francisco Giants 8-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers in Game 1 of the World Series.

    That marked just the ninth time in postseason history, and fifth time in World Series history, that a player has hit three home runs in one game.

    So where does Sandoval's performance stack up to those other eight? Here is a look at how I'd rank them, taking into account not just the player's numbers in the game, but also the situation in which he hit the home run and the significance of that game in the given series.

9. George Brett: 1978 ALCS, Game 3

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    Game Breakdown

    AB 1: Solo HR vs. Catfish Hunter (1-0)
    AB 2: Solo HR vs. Catfish Hunter (2-1)
    AB 3: Solo HR vs. Catfish Hunter (3-3)
    AB 4: Flyout vs. Rich Gossage
    AB 5: Flyout vs. Rich Gossage 

     

    Final Game Line

    3-for-5, 3 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, 2.7 RE24

     

    Summary

    Hitting out of the leadoff spot, Brett hit just nine home runs during the regular season in 1978, but he had future Hall of Famer Catfish Hunter's number in this one and took him deep in each of his first three at bats.

    That kept the Royals in the game, but they wound up losing 6-5 and the Yankees completed the series sweep with a 2-1 victory the next game.

8. Bob Robertson: 1971 NLCS, Game 2

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    Game Breakdown

    AB 1: Double vs. John Cumberland
    AB 2: Solo HR vs. John Cumberland (2-2)
    AB 3: Strikeout vs. Don McMahon
    AB 4: Three-Run HR vs. Ron Bryant (8-2)
    AB 5: Solo HR vs. Steve Hamilton (9-2)

     

    Final Game Line

    4-for-5, 2B, 3 HR, 4 R, 5 RBI, 4.7 RE24

     

    Summary

    Robertson enjoyed a solid run as the Pirates' first baseman in the early 1970s, providing solid pop out of the No. 5 spot in the lineup behind Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell.

    His first home run knotted things up, and his three-run blast in the top of the seventh blew things open as the Pirates went on to a 9-4 victory.

    Pittsburgh wound up taking the series in four games, and the team went on to win the World Series in seven games over the Baltimore Orioles. 

7. Albert Pujols: 2011 World Series, Game 3

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    Game Breakdown

    AB 1: Groundout vs. Matt Harrison
    AB 2: Single vs. Matt Harrison
    AB 3: Single vs. Scott Feldman
    AB 4: Three-Run HR vs. Alexi Ogando (11-6)
    AB 5: Two-Run HR vs. Mike Gonzalez (14-6)
    AB 6: Solo HR vs. Darren Oliver (16-7)

     

    Final Game Line

    5-for-6, 2 1B, 3 HR, 4 R, 6 RBI, 5.8 RE24

     

    Summary

    Not to take anything away from Pujols' accomplishment in the last World Series, but he did all of his damage against the Rangers' bullpen, and aside from his first home run which pushed the Cardinals' lead from two runs to five runs, his blasts had little effect on the outcome of a blowout game.

    He added a pair of singles for an impressive five-hit game, as the Cardinals tallied 15 hits as a team and won by a final score of 16-7 to take a 2-1 series lead.

6. Babe Ruth: 1928 World Series, Game 4

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    Game Breakdown

    AB 1: Double Play vs. Bill Sherdel
    AB 2: Solo HR vs. Bill Sherdel (1-1)
    AB 3: Groundout vs. Bill Sherdel
    AB 4: Solo HR vs. Bill Sherdel (2-2)
    AB 5: Solo HR vs. Pete Alexander (7-2) 

     

    Final Game Line

    3-for-5, 3 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, 2.1 RE24

     

    Summary

    Ruth went deep three times in a World Series game for the second time in three years in 1928, and he did it in the Yankees series-clinching game as they swept the Cardinals.

    Ruth's second home run off of Sherdel, a 21-game winner during the regular season, was followed by a solo shot from Lou Gehrig and sparked a four-run inning for the Yankees that proved to be the difference in a 7-4 victory.

5. Babe Ruth:1926 World Series, Game 4

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    Game Breakdown

    AB 1: Solo HR vs. Flint Rhen (1-0)
    AB 2: Solo HR vs. Flint Rhen (2-1) 
    AB 3: Walk vs. Art Rhinehart
    AB 4: Two-Run HR vs. Hi Bell (9-4)
    AB 5: Walk vs. Bill Hallahan 

     

    Final Game Line

    3-for-3, 2 BB, 3 HR, 4 R, 4 RBI, 4.5 RE24

     

    Summary

    Ruth was the first (and second) player to accomplish the feat of three home runs in a postseason game, and the Yankees' offense was firing on all cylinders in this game as they scored 10 runs and banged out 14 hits against the Cardinals.

    The win pulled the series to 2-2, but the Cardinals would eventually come away with the title in seven games, with Ruth's infamous caught-stealing attempt marking the end of Game 7.

4. Adrian Beltre: 2011 ALDS, Game 4

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    Game Breakdown 

    AB 1: Solo HR vs. Jeremy Hellickson (2-0)
    AB 2: Solo HR vs. Jeremy Hellickson (3-1)
    AB 3: Solo HR vs. Matt Moore (4-2) 
    AB 4: Flyout vs. Wade Davis 

     

    Final Game Line

    3-for-4, 3 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, 2.6 RE24

     

    Summary

    While he did not pile up the RBI like some of the other guys on this list, and he is the only player to do it in the Division Series round, Beltre almost single-handedly won a clinching game for the Rangers.

    Ian Kinsler homered for the Rangers to lead-off the game, but they were held to just five hits the rest of the way, with three of those being Beltre solo home runs.

    The third long ball proved to be huge, as the Rays sent five guys to the plate in the bottom of the ninth and scored a run to cut the Rangers' lead to one.

3. Adam Kennedy: 2002 ALCS, Game 5

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    Game Breakdown

    AB 1: Solo HR vs. Joe Mays (1-2)
    AB 2: Solo HR vs. Joe Mays (3-2)
    AB 3: Three-Run HR vs. Johan Santana (6-5)
    AB 4: Single vs. Bob Wells 

     

    Final Game Line

    4-for-4, 1B, 3 HR, 3 R, 5 RBI, 4.7 RE24

     

    Summary

    Kennedy certainly ranks as the most unlikely player on this list, as he hit just seven home runs during the regular season and enjoyed his three homer game out of the No. 9 spot in the Angels' lineup.

    His third home run was a big one, as he hit it off of a tough lefty in Johan Santana and gave the Angels the lead for good at 6-5. The Angels went on to score 10 runs in the inning, with Kennedy hitting again and singling, as the Angels took the series 4-1 with the victory.

2. Pablo Sandoval: 2012 World Series, Game 1

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    Game Breakdown:

    AB 1: Solo HR vs. Justin Verlander (1-0)
    AB 2: Two-Run HR vs. Justin Verlander (4-0)
    AB 3: Solo HR vs. Al Alburquerque (6-0)
    AB 4: Single vs. Jose Valverde 

     

    Final Game Line

    4-for-4, 1B, 3 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI, 5.0 RE24

     

    Summary

    Facing arguably the best pitcher in baseball, Sandoval set the tone for the game early, taking Justin Verlander deep twice and homering in each of his first three at-bats, and the fact that he was facing one of the best certainly shoots him up this list.

    He's driven in a run in the team's last six games now and has carried the Giants' offense along with Marco Scutaro. As a free-swinger who's seeing the ball really well right now, it'll be interesting to see what he does for an encore.

1. Reggie Jackson: 1977 World Series, Game 6

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    Game Breakdown

    AB 1: Walk vs. Burt Hooton
    AB 2: Two-Run HR vs. Burt Hooton (4-3)
    AB 3: Two-Run HR vs. Elias Sosa (7-3)
    AB 4: Solo HR vs. Charlie Hough (8-3) 

     

    Final Game Line

    3-for-3, BB, 3 HR, 4 R, 5 RBI, 4.9 RE24

     

    Summary

    Mr. October earned his nickname with this clinching game in the 1977 World Series, as Jackson took three different pitchers deep on three consecutive at bats.

    His first long ball chased starter Burt Hooton and gave the Yankees the lead for good, as the Yankees took home their first World Series title in 14 years.