Lane Thomas becomes the 7th player in Nationals history with a 3-home run game

Lane Thomas came into Friday’s game against the Cincinnati Reds with three home runs this season. He left him with twice as much.

The Nationals left fielder hit three long balls in Washington’s 8-5 win, becoming the seventh player to have a three-home run game for the club since moving to DC in 2005. Other names on this list are famous punchers: Alfonso Soriano, Adam Dunn, Ryan Zimmerman, Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon and Kyle Schwarber.

Now that list includes Thomas, who also finished with four RBIs that day.

“He was very aggressive, which we like,” Nationals manager Davey Martinez said during his postgame press conference, which aired on MASN. “He’s a fastball hitter. When he gets the ball in the area with fastballs/sliders, he hits the ball hard. Tonight is a perfect example.

Thomas was collapsing heavily before the game, having had just one hit in his last 22 at-bats (0.046 average). Martinez continued to trust him, however, beating him second in the lineup to Juan Soto in four of their last seven games, including Friday.

His career field splits heavily in favor of facing southpaws and he started on Friday with Reds southpaw Mike Minor on the bump. After fielding his first at bat, Thomas took Minor deep left on a 1-2 pitch that landed just a few rows away from the wall.

This ball only traveled 349 feet, but the circuits gradually got longer from there. Thomas only saw right-handed pitchers the rest of the way. It didn’t matter. He hit his second homer against Vladimir Gutiérrez on a full count at the fifth, this time on the opposite field at 383 feet.

The No. 3 home run came off reliever Jeff Hoffman, who could only watch Thomas golf a 95 mph fastball and send it 396 feet left. He hit the ball with an exit speed of 104.8 mph, well above his season average of 87.7 mph.

He had the chance to attempt a fourth homer on his fifth at bat, but flew to center field. With his big day, Thomas raised his slash on the season to .211/.268/.406, leaving plenty of room for improvement for the rest of the season.

But after the Nationals acquired him in exchange for two months from a struggling Jon Lester last summer, the production Thomas has provided so far – including an impressive 45-game streak to close out the 2021 campaign – has already made this decision a victory for Washington.

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