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Big League Stew

Trifecta time: Corey Hart adjusts, joins three home run club

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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For the first five weeks of the baseball season, no-hitter alerts went out nearly every day, with Francisco Liriano and Justin Verlander accomplishing the feat just four days apart in early May. Recently, the no-hitter front has quieted down, but in its place a wave of dominant offensive performances has come.

On Monday night, Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Corey Hart became the fourth person over the past 12 days to hit three home runs in a game. He also tied a franchise record by driving in seven runs in the Brewers' 11-3 victory against the Washington Nationals.

This three-homer thing is catching on:

• Carlos Beltran also did it at Colorado on May 12.

• Jose Bautista, who hit his league-leading 19th home run Monday night, hit three in Minnesota on May 15.

• Jason Giambi became the second-oldest player to do so, at Philadelphia on Thursday.

As with any performance of this nature, there's a unique circumstance involved somehow. For Hart, it was that he entered this game without a home run in 76 at-bats this season — and only one RBI.

Watch Hart break out

Hart's lack of power and production can be attributed to a strained oblique suffered in February that cost him all of spring training and the first three weeks of the season. That's precious preparation time for any hitter going into the season. Hart even admitted that after nearly one full month of complete health, he struggled to find a comfort zone.

In fact, Hart labeled his hitting session before Monday night's game, "Probably one of my worst batting practices I've had all year." {YSP:MORE}

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Frustrated, Hart decided to change up his stance slightly and move his hands to a different position during his final pregame swings. He took those changes into the game with him, and much like Giambi last week, he found immediate and positive results.

"Hopefully this is a start," said Hart, with his 1-year-old son, Brye, munching on a cookie on his hip. "Hopefully I can start swinging the bat better and keep it going."

We're happy to report Hart's teammates were not serving celebratory beverages to that postgame presser.

It's also worth mentioning that Hart's three home runs were the 99th, 100th and 101st of his career. Not many guys — 762 in history — have reached 100 home runs. That alone is a great achievement, but to reach it in this manner gives Hart a nice little place in history.

As for the Brewers, they have won eight of 10 and have moved into a second-place tie with the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central, 3 1/2 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals.

Hart is healthy and possibly in the process of breaking out. Zack Greinke is healthy and ready to anchor their starting rotation. Ryan Braun is still Ryan Braun, and Prince Fielder is hitting baseballs around the world. It's past the time when the rest of the division should be concerned, and precisely the time when they should become frightened.

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