MILWAUKEE - Shawn Green came to the land of beer and bratwurst mired in the worst slump of his eight-year career, a season-long slide that punctured his reputation as one of the game's premier power hitters, shattered his confidence and prompted fans at Dodger Stadium to boo him during the last homestand.
The Dodgers' right fielder left Milwaukee yesterday with his name etched alongside such Hall of Famers as Lou Gehrig, Willie Mays and Mike Schmidt and plastered all over baseball's record books.
Green enjoyed one of the most prolific single-game performances in baseball history, smashing four home runs and amassing a major-league-record 19 total bases to lead the Dodgers to a 16-3 shellacking of the Milwaukee Brewers before 26,728 at Miller Park.
When Green capped a six-hit, six-run, seven-RBI day with a 450-foot homer off reliever Jose Cabrera in the ninth inning, he became only the 14th player in major-league history to hit four home runs in a game, a feat Seattle's Mike Cameron accomplished against the Chicago White Sox on May 2, but has been done only five times in the past 40 years.
"That was awesome - it was like slow motion when that last ball went out," Dodgers third base coach Glenn Hoffman said. "I had goose bumps. It gave me chills. To see a ball go out like that, it's history, man. ...
"I was like a kid watching him. I mean, how many years are you in this game and you see a guy hit four home runs? That's the first time for me. And he goes 6-for-6 on top of that? And 19 total bases? That's a day."
Green, who also doubled and singled for a career-high six hits, broke Joe Adcock's total-base record of 18, set for the Milwaukee Braves on July 31, 1954, against the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Green's six runs set a Dodgers franchise record and tied the modern major-league mark. His five extra-base hits tied a National League record. His six hits were a career high and tied a franchise record. His seven RBIs tied his career high, and his four homers helped the Dodgers set a franchise record for homers in a game with eight.
Not bad for a guy who went five consecutive games without hitting a ball out of the infield last week.
"It definitely hasn't sunk in yet," Green said. "I wish I had a few days off so I could enjoy it. It's something I'll never forget When Cameron [hit his four homers] I thought, 'Man, that's a great couple of weeks right there.' No one in this game needed this more than I did, because I was getting pretty down."
Green had 49 home runs and 125 RBIs last season, but he spent the first month and a half of 2002 in hibernation
Green entered the Milwaukee series in a 1-for-19 skid, batting .231 with three home runs. He homered twice in an 8-6 loss Tuesday night, had an RBI triple in Wednesday night's 1-0 victory and capped off the series with yesterday's memory-maker, giving him nine hits, six of them home runs, 10 RBIs, eight runs and 30 total bases in three games. He is batting .265.
Green entered the series on a pace for 11 home runs this season. After a three-run home run to right field off Glendon Rusch in the second inning, a bases-empty homer to right-center off Brian Mallette in the fourth, a bases-empty homer to left off Mallette in the fifth and his final homer to right-center in the ninth, he is on pace for 31 home runs.
"The ball had been looking like a pingpong ball," Green said. "Today, it probably looked like a softball. It slowed down a lot. The last six weeks, the ball seemed to be going fast, and I was having a tough time, jumping at pitches. Today, I was able to sit back and wait for it."
Mike DiGiovanna is a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, a Tribune Publishing newspaper.
Homers:Ties major-league record with four.
At-bats:Goes 6-for-6, including double.
Total bases:Breaks major-league record with 19.
Runs:Ties major-league record with six.
Players who have hit four home runs in a regular-season major-league game:
Player, Team Date *Lou Gehrig, New York June 3, 1932 Patrick Seerey, Chicago July 18, 1948-x *Rocky Colavito, Cleveland June 10, 1959 *Mike Cameron, Seattle May 2, 2002
National League*Robert Lowe, Boston May 30, 1894 Ed Delahanty, Philadelphia July 13, 1896 Chuck Klein, Philadelphia July 10, 1936-y Gil Hodges, Brooklyn Aug. 31, 1950 Joe Adcock, Milwaukee July 31, 1954 Willie Mays, San Francisco April 30, 1961 *Mike Schmidt, Philadelphia April 17, 1976-y Bob Horner, Atlanta July 6, 1986 Mark Whiten, St. Louis Sept. 7, 1993 Shawn Green, Los Angeles May 23, 2002 *-homers came in consecutive at-bats; x-11-inning game; y-10-inning game.