July 28, 2011
If Petco Park is supposed to be the ballpark where home runs go to die, then nobody told Justin Upton(notes). Ticked off by Cory Luebke's(notes) "quick pitch" attempt in the fourth inning, the Arizona Diamondbacks star hit two mammoth shots off the San Diego Padres pitcher during Wednesday night's 4-3 win. The one pictured above — a solo shot in the sixth — tested Petco's cavernous confines and might've left them completely had it not been stopped by the third deck of the warehouse in left field.
Upton was just named co-NL Player of the Week for last week's efforts and he might have a shot at a second straight award by going 7 for 11 with three homers and seven RBIs in his first three games this week.
But if you think Upton's home run derby snub has been the motivation behind this recent tear, that's apparently not the case. To hear Upton tell it — and see his reaction in the replay of the first home run — he was motivated by Luebke throwing him a "quick pitch" before Upton was fully ready in the batter's box:
"The guy quick-pitched me the first pitch," Upton said. "He did it my first at-bat. It's just irritating. He's trying to trick the system, man. I'm just going to say I've never seen Tim Lincecum(notes) quick-pitch me. Matt Cain(notes), Ubaldo Jimenez(notes), those guys don't do it.
"It's one of those things, man. I got a good pitch to hit. Yeah, I was mad about it, but I got a good pitch to hit."
Yeah, San Diego might want to think twice before trying that again. Manager Kirk Gibson said the Padres also tried to quick pitch Upton during Tuesday night's game and that he also responded with a home run.
Hit Tracker Online doesn't have the true distances of Upton's homers listed just yet, but the one he hit to the deepest part of the park in the fourth was just as impressive. HTO has Upton listed as the leader of "no doubt" home runs in 2011 and the 478-foot shot he hit on April 12 is listed as the second-longest home run in the majors this season.
BONUS: Wednesday was the second time that Upton hit two homers in one game at Petco Park, which got me wondering how many times that's been done since it opened in 2004. Well, according to Baseball-Reference's Play-Index, a player has hit two home runs in one game 51 times at Petco and Upton trails only Adrian Gonzalez(notes) (four) and Khalil Greene(notes) (three) when it comes to frequency.
Taking this a bit further, only two ballparks that have been in business since Petco opened have featured fewer multi-HR games by a batter: Oakland Coliseum (41) and AT&T Park (46). PNC Park has also seen only 51 multi-HR games while Tropicana Field has seen 52. The most? That would be Great American Ballpark (113), Wrigley Field (108), Citizens Bank Park (103) and U.S. Cellular Field (101).