Mesoraco belts way into Reds' record book
Catcher ties franchise mark with home run in fifth straight game
CHICAGO -- Not a lot went right for the Reds on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field. It took them until the seventh inning to get a baserunner, Homer Bailey couldn't make it through the sixth, and they lost to the Cubs, 7-3.
There was something to celebrate, however. With one out in the ninth, Devin Mesoraco cranked his 14th homer of the year. More importantly, it's the fifth straight game he's gone deep, which ties a franchise record.
It also puts Mesoraco in elite company. The most recent Red to homer in five straight games was Adam Dunn (May 14-19, 2008). Before him, the feat was accomplished by Ken Griffey Jr. (2003), Johnny Bench (1972), George Crowe (1957) and Ted Kluszewski (1954).
"I think that the coolest thing, is just the company that that puts me with," Mesoraco said. "Those guys were incredible hitters, and for my name to be mentioned in the same breath as those guys, that's pretty cool."
Consecutive homer games by catchers
|Devin Mesoraco *||CIN||6/20/14||???||5|
The 26-year-old backstop is also one shy of the all-time record for consecutive games with a home run by a catcher. Giants All-Star Walker Cooper hit a blast in six straight games in June 1947. A.J. Pierzynski and Buster Posey were the last catchers to homer in five straight games, with both doing so in 2012.
Mesoraco's long-ball streak is no fluke. The Reds catcher is enjoying a banner year, posting a .320/.387/.667 line in 43 games.
"The other part is he's doing it hitting in the four-hole, where I think at times you can as a hitter kind of inherit some extra sense of responsibility and maybe try to hit more home runs and extra-base hits and manufacture things that may not be there for you on a particular night if you don't get the pitches to hit," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He's really staying within himself. I know it's a cliche, but he's really doing a nice job of taking what he gets and really doing something with it."
Mesoraco slightly deviated from that approach in the ninth. He was well aware of the streak and kept it going by driving a 2-1 fastball from righty Neil Ramirez into the left-field bleachers.
"Yeah, I was trying to hit a home run, for sure," Mesoraco said. "Honestly, most of the time I got up there, depending on the pitcher, I'm trying to drive the ball to left field. If it's a home run or a double, that's what I'm trying to do -- get a pitch up in the zone that I can put a good swing on, and that's what happened."
Mesoraco downplayed the accomplishment a bit because it came in a loss, and unlike many of his other home runs, this one didn't help the team win. He even had to haggle with the fan who caught the ball and was demanding Mesoraco's battling gloves in exchange for it, among other things.
Mesoraco handled the situation with class. The ball was special to him, and he was willing to give the fan what he wanted.
"That one didn't really help us come back, so it doesn't mean as much," he said. "But just the company that I'm with is nice."
Joe Popely is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.