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October 26, 2020
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Randy Arozarena keeps raking, slams seventh HR of playoffs in ALCS Game 7

Randy Arozarena has done it again.

The Tampa Bay Rays rookie outfielder hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning off Lance McCullers Jr. to give the Rays the early lead over the Houston Astros in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday in San Diego.

It was Arozarena’s seventh home run of the postseason, a 416-foot blast to right-center off a 2-2, 97 mph fastball. He became just the fourth player to hit at least seven home runs before the World Series, matching Daniel Murphy of the 2015 Mets and B.J. Upton of the 2008 Rays at seven and sitting one behind Carlos Beltran’s eight for the 2004 Astros. Arozarena had an extra round to add to his total, but he didn’t homer against the Blue Jays in the wild-card series, hitting three against the Yankees in the division series and now four in the ALCS.

Even though Beltran’s Astros failed to reach the World Series, Beltran shares the overall single-season postseason record at eight home runs with Barry Bonds (2002 Giants) and Nelson Cruz (2011 Rangers). Heading into his second plate appearance, Arozarena was hitting .404/.456/.904 in 14 playoff games and his 47 total bases is already second most for a single postseason, trailing David Freese’s 50 for the 2011 Cardinals. Freese hit .397 that postseason and was the MVP of the National League Championship Series and the World Series.

The Rays acquired the 25-year-old Cuban in the offseason from the Cardinals, surrendering 2018 first-round pick Matthew Liberatore in the deal. Arozarena tested positive for COVID-19 and missed the start of the truncated regular season, not playing his first game for Tampa Bay until Aug. 30. He hit seven home runs in September, showing more power than his minor league record projected (he hit 15 home runs in the minors in 2019 in 343 at-bats).

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