In a series featuring three of the best power hitters in baseball history, a light-hitting middle infielder stole the spotlight Saturday.
This series marks the first time that three players with 500 homers have played together—Baltimore’s Sammy Sosa (580) and Rafael Palmeiro (559), and Cincinnati’s Ken Griffey Jr. (511). However, Baltimore’s Melvin Mora hit a three-run homer in the Orioles’ 4-3 in Friday’s series opener, and Lopez drove in a career-high six runs in the Reds’ 10-1 win Saturday.
Lopez, who has 32 homers in five seasons, hit his second career grand slam and singled home two more runs. He is tied with Griffey for second on the team with 10 homers.
“I’m not surprised at the power,” said the shortstop, who had never hit more than eight homers in a season. “I’ve always been capable of hitting home runs. That’s not my game, but I can hit them. I try to stay patient and not miss too many pitches. That’s what I did when I was young—missed too many pitches.”
Sosa, Palmeiro and Griffey have combined for just one extra-base hit in the series, Griffey’s solo homer on Friday night.
Adam Dunn added a two-run homer for the Reds, who have 15 homers in their last five games. Cincinnati has won four of its last five since a five-game losing streak.
The Orioles, whose .286 batting average led the majors heading into Saturday’s games, were held scoreless until Sal Fasano homered with two out in the eighth. Baltimore has lost three of four since a three-game winning streak.