The speedy Span hit three triples, tying a modern major league record, and drove in five runs to help push the Minnesota Twins back into first place in the AL Central with an 11-4 victory against the Detroit Tigers.
Three triples! He totally cubed them!
D-Span3 said he was on the spot after Jim Thome(notes), his 39-year-old lumberjack of a teammate, hit an unlikely triple in the previous game. Span came into Tuesday with four triples this season and 21 for his career — along with 17 homers.
"He definitely inspired me," Span said with a smile, recalling Thome's first triple in seven years on Monday night. "A triple for me is like hitting a home run for a power hitter."
Span's third triple, which came in the fifth inning, cleared the bases and just missed clearing the fence for a grand slam. It bounced hard off the fence — in the tradition of the old Metrodome turf, perhaps — and rolled away from outfielder Magglio Ordonez(notes).
[Photos: See Denard Span field and swing]
Before his next at-bat, in the seventh, Span received a standing ovation from the Target Field shoppers.
"That's the first time I've ever come to the plate like that," Span said. "I didn't know what to do."
He walked, getting on base for the fifth time. Hours later, Span was still excited about the ovation on Twitter.
He shares the record with many players, but only Rafael Furcal(notes) (2002), Lance Johnson (1995), Herm Winningham ('90) and Shawon Dunston ('90) have hit that many triples in a game since 1982 (h/t Baseball-Reference.com).
Ken Landreaux, 30 years ago, is the only other Twinkie to triple thrice in one game.