CLEVELAND (AP) — Max Kepler homered three times for the Minnesota Twins against the Cleveland Indians on Thursday night.
Kepler, who entered the game in an 0-for-21 slump, connected in the first, third and seventh innings off Indians starter Trevor Bauer. Kepler walked in the fifth.
The 26-year-old outfielder came up in the ninth with a chance to hit four homers in one game — a feat rarer than a perfect game. But left-hander Josh Smith kept the left-handed swinging Kepler in the park, getting him to hit a hard grounder to the right side that he beat out for a single.
"I thought about it for a second, but I got back within myself and had the same approach as every other at-bat — see it and try to put the bat on it," Kepler said after Minnesota's 5-4 victory.
Only 18 players in major league history have homered four times in a game. J.D. Martinez did it with Arizona on Sept. 4, 2017. The last AL player to do it was Josh Hamilton for Texas on May 8, 2012.
It is Kepler's second career three-homer game. He also had one against the Indians on Aug. 1, 2016.
The Twins have had 10 three-homer games in their history, most recently by Eddie Rosario on June 3, 2018.
No Minnesota player has ever homered four times in a game.