Three-Homer Games

Congratulations to Carlos Lee, the latest Astro to hit three homers in a game!

The home run has been the measure of offensive excellence since Babe Ruth revolutionized the sport in the Twenties. Although the 1990's saw the advent of a high-offense era that shattered the single-season home run record, the single-game record is still safe. Only a handful of players have managed to hit four home runs in a game.

The Astros' franchise record for home runs in a game is three, first established by Jim Wynn in 1967. It would not be until twenty years later that an Astro would hit three homers early enough in a game to have an opportunity at a fourth. In fact, there have been only four such opportunities in franchise history, and all four have come up short of the major-league record.

This page is a tribute to the nine Astros that have hit three homers in a game and of the twelve times they have accomplished this feat. I would like to personally thank David Smith at Retrosheet for the play-by-play information on this page.

The Three-Homer games:
Date Player Result
June 15, 1967 Jim Wynn Astros 6, Giants 2
June 21, 1973 Lee May Astros 12, Padres 2
September 10, 1987 Glenn Davis Padres 8, Astros 7
June 1, 1990 Glenn Davis Giants 6, Astros 5
June 24, 1994 Jeff Bagwell Astros 16, Dodgers 4
April 21, 1999 Jeff Bagwell Astros 10, Cubs 3
June 9, 1999 Jeff Bagwell Astros 13, White Sox 4
July 28, 2001 Vinny Castilla Pirates 9, Astros 8
April 16, 2002 Lance Berkman Astros 8, Reds 3
September 16, 2003 Richard Hidalgo Astros 14, Rockies 4
May 15, 2005 Morgan Ensberg Astros 9, Giants 0
April 13, 2007 Carlos Lee Astros 9, Phillies 6


Fast facts about three-homer games:

  • Jim Wynn was the first Astro to accomplish this feat
  • Jeff Bagwell, with three, has had more three-homer games than any other Astro
  • Only three of the team's ten three-homer games have occurred at home.
  • There have been six chances (Davis 2, Bagwell, Castilla, and Berkman 2) for Astros to reach four homers.
  • Despite the power display, the Astros have lost 3 of the 10 three-homer games


    Jim Wynn - June 15, 1967 - vs. San Francisco

    Three solo homers
    (c) Houston Astros
    In the midst of a home run race with Hank Aaron, center fielder Jim Wynn leapt into the national spotlight by slugging three home runs in a 6-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants. Wynn became the first Astro to accomplish this feat, and did so in one of the most homer-unfriendly ballparks in the history of the sport -- the Astrodome in it's original configuration. All three of his homers were solo shots, with the first two coming off of Giant starter Bobby Bolin. Reliever Bill Henry was victimized by Wynn's final shot in the 8th inning. Mike Cuellar tossed a complete-game victory for the Astros. Wynn would go on to hit 37 homers in 1967, a mark that would stand until Jeff Bagwell's 1994 MVP season. A summary of Wynn's game:

     
                  1 2 3  4 5 6  7 8 9      R  H E 
    San Francisco 0 0 1  0 1 0  0 0 0  --  2  8 0 
    Houston       0 0 0  2 0 1  1 2 x  --  6 13 1 
    

    1st inning: 2 outs, nobody on. Against starter Bobby Bolin, Wynn grounds out to third base to end the inning.
    4th inning: 0 outs, nobody on. Wynn leads off the inning with a solo homer to left that ties the game at 1-1.
    6th inning: 1 out, nobody on. Wynn breaks a 2-2 tie with a solo homer to left-center.
    8th inning: 0 outs, nobody on. Against reliever Bill Henry, Wynn extends the Astros' lead to 5-2 with a solo homer to left.

    For the night, Wynn went 3-for-4 with 3 RBI.


    Lee May - June 21, 1973 - at San Diego

    Part of 21-game streak
    (c) Houston Astros
    With a 19-game hitting streak on the line, free-swinging first baseman Lee May extended it in style, blasting three home runs in a 12-2 rout of the Padres at Jack Murphy Stadium. Unlike Wynn's earlier game in 1967, May had men on base for his homers and collected five RBIs on the day. May reached base safely in all five plate appearances, reaching first on a single and an error in addition to his three homers. Ken Forsch was the beneficiary of May's hitting, picking up a complete-game victory over his mound opponent, Bill Greif. A summary of May's game:

     
                  1 2 3  4 5 6  7 8 9      R  H E  
    Houston       1 1 0  5 0 0  2 0 3  -- 12 14 0 
    San Diego     0 0 0  0 1 0  0 1 0  --  2  8 2
    

    2nd inning: 0 out, nobody on. Against starter Bill Greif, May leads off the inning with a solo homer to left.
    4th inning: 0 outs, 1 run in, Bob Watson on first. May reaches on an error by shortstop Derrel Thomas and would later score on a home run by Tommy Helms.
    5th inning: 2 outs, nobody on. Against reliever Bob Miller, May singles to left field but is stranded.
    7th inning: 2 outs, Bob Watson on first. May hits a two-run homer to left-center, giving the Astros a 9-1 lead.
    9th inning: 1 out, 1 run in, Bob Watson on first. Against reliever Gary Ross, May hits his third homer of the game, a two-run blast to left-center that gives the Astros a 12-2 lead.

    For the night, May went 4-for-5 with 5 RBI.


    Glenn Davis - September 10, 1987 - at San Diego

    First Astro with chance
    for 4 homers

    (c) Houston Astros
    First baseman Glenn Davis became only the third Astro to hit three homers in a game, but it was not enough as the Astros lose to the Padres, 8-7, in Jack Murphy Stadium. Davis drove in 5 of his team's 7 runs, but the Houston staff was pelted with 17 hits in a game that could have been more lopsided had the Padres not stranded 12 runners during the game. Houston starter Bob Knepper was ineffective and was sent to the showers in the 4th inning. In the 8th inning, Davis became the first Astro in history with a chance to hit a fourth home run, but came up short against reliever Lance McCullers. A summary of Davis's game:

     
                  1 2 3  4 5 6  7 8 9      R H E 
    Houston       0 1 0  2 0 3  0 0 1 --  7  9 0 
    San Diego     3 0 0  0 1 1  2 0 1 --  8 17 2 
    

    2nd inning: 0 out, nobody on. Against starter Mark Grant, Davis leads off the inning with a solo homer to left.
    4th inning: 1 out, Kevin Bass on second. Davis ties the game at 3 with a two-run homer to right.
    6th inning: 0 outs, 1 run in, Kevin Bass on first. Davis rudely greets reliever Mark Davis with a two-run homer to left, breaking a 4-4 tie.
    8th inning: 1 out, nobody on, Lance McCullers pitching. With a chance to tie the game with his fourth home run, Davis grounds out to second.

    For the night, Davis went 3-for-4 with 5 RBI.


    Glenn Davis - June 1, 1990 - at San Francisco

    First Astro to have two
    three-homer games

    (c) Houston Astros
    In his final season with the team, first baseman Glenn Davis became the first Astro to hit three homers in a game more than once, accomplishing the feat in Candlestick Park against the Giants. San Francisco starter Trevor Wilson was victimized twice, and Davis hit his third homer off of Jeff Brantley. The game went into extra innings, giving Davis an opportunity to hit his fourth homer of the game. Unfortunately, he struck out and San Francisco went on to win the game. Mark Portugal was the Houston starter but was pulled after walking the first two batters in the 7th inning. A summary of Davis's game:

     
                                       1 1 
                  1 2 3  4 5 6  7 8 9  0 1     R  H E 
    Houston       0 0 0  1 0 3  0 1 0  0 0 --  5  5 0 
    San Francisco 0 0 0  0 1 0  3 1 0  0 1 --  6 11 0 
    

    1st inning: 2 outs, Craig Biggio on first. Against starter Trevor Wilson, Davis ends the inning by forcing out Biggio on a grounder to shortstop.
    4th inning: 1 out, nobody on. Davis gives the Astros a 1-0 lead with a solo homer to right-center.
    6th inning: 1 out, runners on 1st and 2nd. Davis puts the Astros up 4-1 with a three-run homer to left, scoring Bill Doran and Craig Biggio.
    8th inning: 1 out, nobody on, Jeff Brantley pitching. Davis drives in the team's final run will a solo homer to left-center.
    11th inning: 0 out, nobody on, Dan Schatzeder pitching. With a chance for his fourth homer of the game, Davis leads off the inning by striking out.

    For the night, Davis went 3-for-5 with 5 RBI.


    Jeff Bagwell - June 24, 1994 - vs. Los Angeles

    Two homers, one inning
    (c) Houston Astros
    In his fourth major-league season, first baseman Jeff Bagwell announced to the league that he had arrived when he slugged three homers in a 16-4 rout of the Dodgers in the Astrodome. He was having an all-star season, but his three-homer game would be the highlight of his MVP campaign during the strike-shortened 1994 season. Bagwell's first two homers came during a nine-run barrage in the 6th inning, and his third was a solo shot in his last at-bat. A summary of Bagwell's game:

     
                  1 2 3  4 5 6  7 8 9     R  H E 
    Los Angeles   0 0 0  0 0 1  1 2 0 --  4  9 1 
    Houston       0 1 2  0 0 9  1 3 x -- 16 17 0 
    

    1st inning: 2 outs, nobody on. Against starter Ramon Martinez, Bagwell strikes out to end the inning.
    3rd inning: 1 out, 1 run in, Craig Biggio on second. Bagwell singles home Biggio to give the Astros a 3-0 lead.
    6th inning: 1 out, nobody on. Bagwell hits a mammoth home run to deep left, giving the Astros a 4-1 lead.
    6th inning: 2 outs, 6 runs in, runners on second and third. In his second at-bat of the inning, this time against Rudy Seanez, Bagwell caps a 9-run outburst with a line-drive homer to right field, scoring James Mouton and Craig Biggio.
    8th inning: 1 out, nobody on. Against reliever Brian Barnes, Bagwell hits his third home run of the game, a shot to deep left, giving the Astros a 14-4 lead.

    For the night, Bagwell went 4-for-5 with 6 RBI.


    Jeff Bagwell - April 21, 1999 - at Chicago (NL)

    Broke team's all-time
    home run mark

    (c) Houston Astros
    In what would become an important game in franchise history, first baseman Jeff Bagwell launched three homers in Wrigley Field against the Cubs. With the homers, Bagwell tied and then broke Jim Wynn's franchise record for career home runs. Bagwell also joined Glenn Davis as the only Astro with more than one three-homer games. Starting pitcher Shane Reynolds was the beneficiary of Bagwell's 6 RBI as the Astros routed the Cubs, 10-3. A summary of Bagwell's game:

                  1 2 3  4 5 6  7 8 9     R  H E 
    Houston       1 0 3  0 0 0  3 3 0 -- 10 13 0 
    Chicago       0 0 2  0 0 0  0 1 0 --  3 10 2 
    

    1st inning: 2 outs, nobody on. Facing starter Scott Sanders, Bagwell puts the Astros up 1-0 with a solo homer to left.
    3rd inning: 1 out, runners on 1st and 3rd. Bagwell hits a three-run shot to right, scoring Ricky Gutierrez and Bill Spiers to give the Astros a 4-0 lead.
    5th inning: 1 out, Bill Spiers on first. After Spiers is caught stealing for the second out, Bagwell strikes out to end the inning.
    7th inning: 2 outs, 1 run in, Derek Bell on second. Against reliever Rodney Myers, Bagwell gives the Astros a 7-0 lead with a two-run homer to left.
    9th inning: 0 outs, nobody on. Against reliever Dan Serafini, Bagwell misses his chance for a fourth homer and grounds out to third.

    For the night, Bagwell went 3-for-5 with 6 RBI.


    Jeff Bagwell - June 9, 1999 - at Chicago (AL)

    Two 3-homer games
    in one season

    (c) Houston Astros
    First baseman Jeff Bagwell set a new franchise standard for slugging excellence when he hit three home runs against the White Sox in New Comiskey Park. Bagwell became the only Astro to accomplish the feat three times and twice in a single season. Thanks to Bagwell, Astro starter Mike Hampton coasted to an easy 13-4 victory on his way to setting a team record of his own with 22 wins in the season. James Baldwin started for the White Sox but avoided giving up any of Bagwell's homers, who instead feasted on Chicago's bullpen in his last three at-bats. A summary of Bagwell's game:

     
                  1 2 3  4 5 6  7 8 9     R  H E 
    Houston       2 0 2  0 0 4  1 2 2 -- 13 17 1 
    Chicago       0 0 0  1 0 1  0 2 0 --  4  9 2
    

    1st inning: 0 outs, runners on first and second. Against starter James Baldwin, Bagwell begins his game with a fly out to right field.
    2nd inning: 2 outs, Craig Biggio on first. Bagwell strikes out to end the inning.
    4th inning: 2 outs, nobody on. Bagwell fouls out, completing an unusual inning in which all three batters foul out to first base.
    6th inning: 1 out, 1 run in, runners on 1st and 3rd. With the Astros up 5-0, Bagwell greets reliever Sean Lowe with a three-run homer to left field, scoring Craig Biggio and Bill Spiers.
    8th inning: 0 outs, nobody on. Against reliever Bill Simas, Bagwell leads off the inning with his second homer of the game, a solo shot to left field that gives the Astros a 10-2 lead.
    9th inning: 1 out, Russ Johnson on first. Against reliever Keith Foulke, Bagwell hits his third homer of a game, a two-run shot to left that completes the team's scoring at 13 runs.

    For the night, Bagwell went 3-for-5 with 6 RBI.


    Vinny Castilla - July 28, 2001 - at Pittsburgh, Game 1

    Catastrophic bullpen
    collapse

    (c) Houston Astros
    Recently-acquired third baseman Vinny Castilla put his name in the team's record book when he launched three homers against the Pirates in PNC Park. In addition to the homers, Castilla was robbed of another homer in the 4th inning when Brian Giles made a leaping catch at the outfield fence. Castilla also had a rare opportunity to hit a fourth homer, but struck out in the 9th inning with a mighty rip. Unfortunately, Castilla was not able enjoy the his great day at the plate as the real story of the game became the historic meltdown by the Astros bullpen. Relievers Mike Jackson and Billy Wagner combined to tie a major-league record by allowing seven runs in the 9th inning after two outs with nobody on base. The collapse occurred in the first game of a doubleheader and the team rebounded to rout the Pirates, 12-3, in the second game. A summary of Castilla's game:

                  1 2 3  4 5 6  7 8 9     R  H E 
    Houston       0 1 0  0 3 0  0 2 2 --  8 12 0 
    Pittsburgh    0 1 0  0 0 0  1 0 7 --  9 12 0 
    

    2nd inning: 0 outs, nobody on. Castilla leads off the inning with a solo homer to left center, giving the team a 1-0 lead.
    4th inning: 0 out, nobody on. Leading off the inning, Castilla flies out to deep left.
    5th inning: 1 out, runners on 1st and 3rd. Castilla homers to left field, scoring Craig Biggio and Lance Berkman, giving the Astros a 4-1 lead.
    8th inning: 0 outs, nobody on. Castilla leads off the inning with his third homer, a solo shot to left that gives the Astros a 7-2 lead.
    9th inning: 1 out, Julio Lugo on 3rd. Going for his fourth homer, Castilla strikes out swinging.

    For the night, Castilla went 3-for-5 with 5 RBI.


    Lance Berkman - April 16, 2002 - at Cincinnati

    Had two chances for
    a 4th homer

    (c) Houston Astros
    A red-hot Lance Berkman joined an exclusive list of Houston sluggers when he clubbed three homers in an early-season game against the Cincinnati Reds. After hitting homers in his first three at-bats, Lance stepped up to the plate in the 7th inning with a chance to tie the major league record of four homers in a game. Jeff Bagwell doubled with two outs in the 9th to give Lance one more chance, but Berkman was called out on strikes. A summary of Berkman's game:

      
                  1 2 3  4 5 6  7 8 9     R  H E 
    Houston       4 3 0  0 1 0  0 0 0 --  8 11 1 
    Cincinnati    0 0 0  0 1 0  0 0 2 --  3  7 0
    

    1st inning: 1 out, Craig Biggio on 2nd, Jeff Bagwell on 1st. With Juan Acevedo pitching, Berkman homers to left, giving Houston an 3-0 lead.
    2nd inning: 2 outs, nobody on. With two outs and two runs in, Berkman homers to center for back-to-back blasts with Bagwell. Houston now leads, 7-0.
    5th inning: 1 out, nobody on. With Jose Rijo now pitching, Berkman homers to left, giving Houston an 8-0 lead.
    7th inning: 1 out, nobody on. Facing Jim Brower with a chance for his 4th homer, Berkman grounds out to shortstop.
    9th inning: 2 outs, Jeff Bagwell on 2nd. With another chance for his fourth homer, Berkman is called out on strikes by umpire Bill Miller to end the inning.

    For the night, Berkman went 3-for-5 with 5 RBI.


    Richard Hidalgo - September 16, 2003 - at Colorado

    Capped a comeback season
    (c) Houston Astros
    A red-hot Richard Hidalgo joined a growing list of modern-era Houston sluggers with a three-homer performance in a 14-4 rout of the Rockies in Denver. Hidalgo launched a solo dinger in the 2nd, a 3-run blast in the 5th, and another solo shot in the 7th inning. With a chance for a 4th homer, Hidalgo struck out in the 9th against Justin Speier. A summary of Richard's game:

                  1 2 3  4 5 6  7 8 9     R  H E 
    Houston       0 1 0  3 4 2  2 3 1 -- 14 12 1 
    Colorado      1 0 0  0 1 0  0 2 0 --  4  9 3 
    

    2nd inning: 1 out, nobody on. With Chin-hui Tsao on the mound, Hidalgo ties the game at 1-1 with his 25th home run of the season.
    4th inning: 1 out, Jeff Kent on 2nd. Hidalgo walks and later scores on an Adam Everett home run.
    5th inning: 2 outs, Jeff Kent on 2nd, Lance Berkman on 1st. Hidalgo blasts a 435-foot home run to center field against Aaron Cook. The Astros now lead 8-1.
    7th inning: nobody on. Hidalgo hits a solo home run over the left field wall to give Houston a 12-2 lead.
    9th inning: 0 outs, nobody on. Hidalgo strikes out against Justin Speier.

    For the night, Hidalgo went 3-for-4 with 5 RBI.


    Morgan Ensberg - May 15, 2005 - vs. San Francisco

    Paced a 9-0 whitewash
    (c) Houston Astros
    Cleanup hitter Morgan Ensberg became the 8th Astro to launch three homers in a single game, thrilling the home crowd with an impressive power display against the San Francisco Giants. Batting cleanup, Ensberg started his game with a 3-run blast in the 1st inning against Jeff Fassero. Solo shots against relievers Jeremy Accardo and Jason Christiansen sealed a place for Ensberg in franchise history. Ensberg went 4-for-4 on the night and did not get an opportunity to hit a fourth homer. A summary of Morgan's game:

                  1 2 3  4 5 6  7 8 9     R  H E 
    San Francisco 0 0 0  0 0 0  0 0 0 --  0  4 1 
    Houston       3 0 2  1 2 0  1 0 x --  9 11 0 
    

    1st inning: 2 out, Willie Taveras and Lance Berkman on base. With Jeff Fassero on the mound, Ensberg starts the scoring with his 5th home run of the season.
    5th inning: 2 outs, nobody on. Ensberg gives the Astros a 7-0 lead with a 2-out shot against reliever Jeremy Accardo.
    7th inning: no outs, nobody on. Ensberg leads off the inning with the Astros' final strike of the night, a solo homer against Jason Christiansen that gives Houston a 9-0 lead.

    For the night, Ensberg went 4-for-4 with 5 RBI.


    Carlos Lee - April 13, 2007 - at Philadelphia
    Powered 9-6 victory
    (c) Houston Astros
    It happened on a Friday the 13th. In just his ninth game in a Houston uniform, newly acquired Carlos Lee became the ninth Astro to hit three homers in a game, notching the twelfth three-homer game in club history. With Houston starter Roy Oswalt struggling, the Astros found themselves in a 3-0 deficit in the first inning, but Lee's second-innning solo shot off Philly starter Brett Myers put Houston on the scoreboard, then he put them ahead for good with a grand slam in the third off Myers. Lee added a solo shot in the ninth off reliever Ryan Madson. Joining Lee in making history this night, Craig Biggio passed Honus Wagner for eigthth place on the all-time doubles list, while Oswalt picked up the 100th win of his career. Lee went three-for-five with six RBIs for the night. Here's a summary of his game:

                  1 2 3  4 5 6  7 8 9     R  H E 
    Houston       0 1 4  3 0 0  0 0 1 --  9  8 1 
    Philadelphia  3 0 0  2 1 0  0 0 0 --  6 11 0 
    

    2nd inning: 0 on, 0 out. Lee hit a solo homer to right off Brett Myers. Astros trail 3-1.
    3rd inning: 3 on, 2 out.
    Brad Ausmus led off the frame with a double, then Roy Oswalt struck out. Craig Biggio moved Ausmus to third on a groundout. Morgan Ensberg and Lance Berkman both walked, then Lee drove them in with a grand slam to center off Myers. Astros lead 5-3.
    7th inning: 0 on, 2 out. Lee hits a solo shot to center off Ryan Madson. Astros lead 9-3.

    For the night, Lee went three-for-five with six RBIs.