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Adam LaRoche joins Harold Baines with historically-rare achievement

Sep 3, 2014, 11:50 PM EDT

Washington Nationals v Los Angeles Dodgers Getty Images

When Adam LaRoche stepped to the plate in the ninth inning against Kenley Jansen, pinch-hitting for Tyler Moore, he could have quoted Dante from the movie Clerks, saying, “I’m not even supposed to be here today!” The Nationals’ first baseman has been bothered lately by a back injury and was out of Wednesday’s starting lineup.

The ninth inning was the start of an historic day for LaRoche. With Bryce Harper on first base after a lead-off single, LaRoche belted a Kenley Jansen offering over the fence in left field for a game-tying two-run home run. The Nats tacked on one more run later in the inning to take a 4-3 lead, but the Dodgers tied it in the bottom half to send the game into extra innings.

In the 12th inning, with the bases loaded and one out, LaRoche ripped a single to left field to plate two more runs, giving him four RBI in two at-bats. It seemed the Nationals were on their way to a 5-3 win. However, with two outs in the bottom of the 12th, Carl Crawford hit a game-tying two-run home run and the game went on.

LaRoche took his third at-bat in the 14th inning with runners on the corners and one out. The 34-year-old hit into what appeared to be an inning-ending double play, but hustled down the line and beat out Dee Gordon‘s throw to first base and the Nationals took a 6-5 lead. LaRoche had driven in his fifth run. Asdrubal Cabrera then homered and the Nats hung on to win 8-5 in 14 innings.

How often has a player entered the game in the ninth inning or later and accrued five RBI? Just one other time in baseball history. Harold Baines accomplished the feat for the Orioles in 1999 against the White Sox.

  1. Ren Ignatiago - Sep 4, 2014 at 12:04 AM

    Just awesome… Only 2 players accomplished the feat in the MLB for more than a hundred years.

  2. edelmanfanclub - Sep 4, 2014 at 1:21 AM

    Stats like these are why I love baseball. Crazy.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Sep 4, 2014 at 4:20 AM

      Games like these are a huge reason I love baseball. What a crazy ride.

  3. coloredink5 - Sep 4, 2014 at 1:33 AM

    rare achievement? or useless statistic.

    • recoveringcubsfan - Sep 4, 2014 at 7:08 AM

      Guess it depends on your willingness to enjoy a game or your desire to pick it apart.

    • karlkolchak - Sep 4, 2014 at 7:13 AM

      Useless commenter is more like it.

    • stlouis1baseball - Sep 4, 2014 at 11:00 AM

      And here it is folks…the guy who’s glass is always half empty.
      Thanks for the incredibly positive post dink.

    • 18thstreet - Sep 4, 2014 at 12:16 PM

      Stats like this are more of a way to quantify what seems to be — and actually was! — an unusual achievement. If you’re trying to figure out who the best first baseman in the National League is, then, yes, this is a useless stat. If you enjoy talking about baseball, then this is an interesting stat.

  4. berseliusx - Sep 4, 2014 at 2:26 AM

    +1000 for Clerks reference.

    • jlovenotjlo - Sep 4, 2014 at 10:33 AM


      • cohnjusack - Sep 4, 2014 at 10:48 AM

        In a row?

  5. cohnjusack - Sep 4, 2014 at 10:46 AM


    Does everyone realize that Harold Baines was *one* Harold Baines-esque season a way from hitting a bunch of sure-fire HOF milestones. Not that it should have made him a HOFer in any way, but it should highlight how silly it is to say “But he has x number of hits! Obviously he’s a HOFer”. Really, what they are saying is that Harold Baines was one Harold Baines season away from Cooperstown

    For his career, his *average* per season was 18 HR, 77 RBIs, 22 2B, 136 hits, 62 runs

    Take that on to the end of his career, and he ends up with:
    402 HR,
    1705 RBI
    510 2B
    3002 Hits
    1361 Runs

    (Not to knock Baines, he was an excellent player)

    • 18thstreet - Sep 4, 2014 at 12:24 PM

      I can’t picture him as anything than an old player. Was Baines ever 23? Or did he enter the league at 37 and just never age?

  6. natstowngreg - Sep 4, 2014 at 1:18 PM

    BTW, the Nats led 3-2 going into the bottom of the 9th.

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