Prince's three-homer game has MVP feel
Fielder achieves feat for first time, deserves award consideration
MILWAUKEE -- Don't forget about Prince Fielder in the NL MVP race.
Most of the debate has centered around his Brewers teammate, Ryan Braun, and Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp. But with three powerful swings Tuesday night, Fielder showed that he certainly belongs in the discussion as well.
"Great ballgame," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. "That's what Prince can do, he can carry a team."
Fielder crushed three huge home runs for the Brewers in their 6-4 victory over the Pirates, all three of which either tied the game or put the Brewers ahead.
"It is great to have personal achievements, but whenever they help you win the game and help the team, it's that much more special," Fielder said.
With two out in the third, Fielder hit a 1-0 pitch into the second deck in right field, an estimated 453-foot blast that tied the game at 1. It was part of a back-to-back effort with Rickie Weeks, who crushed a 470-foot shot that struck the stadium club over the left-field bleachers.
In the fifth inning, Fielder connected for a two-run shot with two outs, giving the Brewers a 4-3 lead.
Fielder capped off his incredible night with another two-run blast in the seventh, providing the winning margin and giving him his first three-homer game of his career. He was the third Brewers player with a three-homer game this season, joining Corey Hart and Casey McGehee.
"It's kind of surprising that it's the first three-home run game of his career because it feels like he's done this so many times," Braun said. "He's had so many big hits in big situations for us. He's just been such a great player, so it's not surprising to see him have a big game in a crucial situation for us."
With his big performance, Fielder upped his batting average to .299 on the season, matched Kemp for the NL lead with 38 home runs, and moved within four RBIs of Kemp's NL-leading total of 124. Fielder also leads Braun in both categories, and when he takes the field Wednesday, he will be the only one of the three to play in all 162 games this season.
While he has put up bigger numbers in the past, Fielder believes this season is his best.
"Yeah, because we won the division," Fielder said. "Personal achievements are great, but when you're going home in October, it's not that big a deal, I don't think. When you're able to win as a team, all your personal achievements are that much better. Plus, everybody does well, and that's a lot more fun than just doing great and taking it to the house."
This season is also widely expected to be Fielder's last in a Brewers uniform. His expected departure would make it the end of the potent Braun-Fielder 1-2 punch.
If that ends up being the case, they're certainly going out with a bang. The Brewers recently put up a sign behind home plate that reads "MVP(S)" with the Nos. 8 and 28 on either side.
MVP graphics were also prominent on the Miller Park video board Tuesday during each of their at-bats and following Fielder's three home runs.
"For us as players, all we can ask for is an opportunity to be in [the MVP] discussion, and I think we both certainly deserve to be in that discussion," Braun said. "We appreciate the fan support, and [for Fielder], it's deservedly so. He's been phenomenal for us all year."
Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.