05/02/2002 11:36 PM ET
A brush with history
Seattle's Cameron blasts four home runs
By Jimmy Greenfield / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- With Seattle's James Baldwin taking the mound at Comiskey Park as a visitor for the first time, Bret Boone and Mike Cameron wanted him to know early on that they had his back.
So the duo hit back-to-back homers. Twice. In the first inning.
But that bit of magic was just the beginning of a historical night of baseball on the South Side of Chicago.
Cameron also cracked solo shots in the third and fifth innings to become the first American League player in 43 years to homer four times in one game as the Mariners trounced the White Sox, 15-4, Thursday night.
The last AL player to accomplish the feat was Cleveland's Rocky Colavito on June 10, 1959. The last of nine National Leaguers to hit four in a game was St. Louis' Mark Whiten on Sept. 7, 1993.
Despite witnessing a blowout, the crowd of 12,891 at Comiskey Park crowd barely dissipated as Cameron stayed in the game to go after a fifth homer, and even booed one of their own when reliever Mike Porzio hit Cameron with a pitch in the seventh inning.
Jeff Cirillo's homer to lead off the ninth, the seventh solo shot and ninth overall in the game, assured that Cameron would get another trip to the plate.
After walking Desi Relaford and Bret Boone, pitching coach Nardi Contreras went to the mound even though the Sox trailed by 11 runs. Cameron let three straight balls go by before taking a called strike, then swung hard and fouled off a curve ball inside.
The next pitch would have hit the outside corner of the plate but Cameron jacked it to deep left, far enough to make it appear it had a chance to get out.
However, Sox rightfielder Jeff Liefer was able to catch up with the line drive and end Cameron's night with four solo homers.
Boone and Cameron carved out their own spot in the record book by becoming the first pair to ever hit back-to-back homers two times in the same inning.
It's almost an after thought, but Boone and Cameron also individually became the 14th and 15th American Leaguers to hit two home runs in one inning, a feat almost as rare as a perfect game.
Seattle was determined to end its three-game losing streak early on as it went ahead 10-0 before the White Sox came to bat, knocking out rookie starter Jon Rauch (0-1) after he had faced just nine batters and only retired the final one he faced.
Cameron's first homer was hit off Rauch, but the final three came off left-hander Jim Parque, including a 412-foot blast to center in the fifth that earned him a standing ovation.
Parque gave up nine hits and six runs in six innings, which may have been a positive enough outing to earn him a start next week after Rauch's disastrous effort.
The first two home runs Cameron hit, as well as the fourth, went to nearly the identical spot over the 400-foot sign in center. The third homer was pulled to left field, but it too was estimated at over 400 feet.
A teammate of Baldwin's with the White Sox from 1995-98, Cameron came into the contest with five homers in 91 at-bats this season. He hadn't hit in the third spot this year before Seattle manager Lou Piniella played a hunch and moved him up in the order.
Cameron also turned in a defensive gem when, with two outs and the bases loaded in the third, he pulled in Magglio Ordonez's long drive at the top of the center field wall.
Seattle tied two franchise records by clubbing four homers in the first inning and hitting seven in the game.
Carlos Lee and Royce Clayton each hit solo shots and Tony Graffanino added a two-run single off Baldwin, who went seven innings to improve to 3-1. Paul Konerko's 18-game hitting streak ended with an 0-for-5 evening.
After Cameron's second homer made the score 10-0, a frustrated white Sox fan had seen enough and threw a broken broom handle onto the field that halted play for a couple minutes.
There would be no three-game sweep for the Sox, but everybody on hand was able to get a brush with history.
Jimmy Greenfield covers the White Sox for MLB.com and can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.