The Los Angeles Dodgers failed to make the big splash most expected at the MLB trade deadline, but Wednesday’s game against the Colorado Rockies served as another reminder of the talent already in the organization.
After the game at Coors Field was scoreless through eight innings, the Dodgers broke through in the ninth behind Will Smith’s three-run home run off Rockies closer Wade Davis.
Per STATS LLC, Smith became the first player in MLB history during the Modern Era (since 1900) to have three of his first five career home runs be go-ahead in the ninth inning.
Moreover, Smith improved to 5-for-6 with the aforementioned three home runs and seven RBI when batting in the ninth inning. Smith’s first two homers that meet the outlined criteria were each a walk-off.
The second of which came on the same afternoon the Dodgers recalled him from Triple-A Oklahoma City. That blast gave the Dodgers a sweep of the Rockies at Dodger Stadium and extended their MLB record of consecutive games with a walk-off home run hit by a rookie to three.
Furthermore, Smith also made it four walk-off home runs hit by a rookie, setting an MLB record for most by players of that experience in a single season. Two of them have been slugged by Smith, with Alex Verdugo and Matt Beaty contributing one each.
While the 24-year-old received playing time when Austin Barnes was placed on the 10-day injured list, this is Smith’s best opportunity. As Barnes’ prolonged slump led to a demotion to Oklahoma City, manager Dave Roberts made it clear Smith was set to receive the majority of starts.
One day after being anointed such, Smith became the first Dodgers rookie with at least six RBI in a game since James Loney had nine in 2006.
The big performance also cemented Smith as the first rookie catcher in L.A. franchise history to drive in six runs, breaking Mike Piazza’s record of five, which he did twice in 1993. Smith additionally joined Bernie Hungling (1922) and Al Lopez (1930) as the only Dodgers rookie catchers with six RBI in a game.
Overall this season he is batting .333/.386/.821 with four doubles, five home runs and 15 RBI in 13 games across three separate stints with the Dodgers.