Navarro steals the show with three homers

Navarro steals the show with three homers
May 29, 2013, 4:15 pm
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Tony Andracki

It wasn't quite a moment out of "The Natural," but Dioner Navarro has found his lucky bat and doesn't want to let it go just yet.

The Cubs backup catcher had already clubbed two homers in Wednesday's 9-3 win over the White Sox at Wrigley Field, when he sent his bat sailing into the stands behind the Cubs dugout during his third trip to the plate. The fan who wound up with it was gracious enough to return it and Navarro thanked him by handing over his backup lumber in exchange.

"I wanted that bat back," Navarro said. "I'm a really superstitious guy and I had a good feeling with that bat."

He proved why his next time up.

[WATCH: Navarro gets pied in the face after three homer performance

In the bottom of the seventh inning, the 29-year-old switch-hitter turned around to the left side and drilled a 2-0 pitch from White Sox reliever Brian Omogrosso out onto Sheffield Avenue for his third homer of the day.

"It's a great feeling. It's so surreal right now," Navarro said. "When you hit a ball like that, you don't feel anything in the bat.

"As soon as I hit it, I knew it was gone. It's so surreal right now."

Navarro will go down in history as the answer to the trivia question, becoming the first player to homer three times in a Crosstown game. The backup catcher with 47 career homers to his name accomplished what Sammy Sosa, Paul Konerko, Carlos Lee and Aramis Ramirez were never able to do.

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It was also the first time a Cubs player had left the yard from each side of the plate since Mark Bellhorn in 2002, and the first three-homer game from a Cubs catcher since George Mitterwald in April 1974.

The 31,279 fans showed their appreciation by demanding a curtain call from Navarro, something rarely seen at Wrigley Field in recent years. His teammates went a step further, showering him with a Gatorade bath and a shaving cream pie in the face.

"It's a credit to our front office to bring a player like that in," Anthony Rizzo said. "That's the type of player Dioner is and he's a great clubhouse guy. He keeps everyone loose.

"He had a great day out there and it was fun to watch. He really put the team on his back."

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Starting pitcher Scott Feldman was especially happy, as Navarro's power surge handed the veteran right-hander his fifth win of the season.

"That was awesome to watch," said Feldman, who claimed he was jumping around on the table in the trainer's room during Navarro's third homer.

"I'm really happy for him because he works so hard on other things -- calling games, receiving, going over scouting reports -- it's nice to see him rewarded with a day like that."

Despite the big game -- Navarro finished 3-for-3 with a walk, six RBI and four runs -- manager Dale Sveum said Welington Castillo is still the starting catcher and he doesn't intend to change anything with Navarro's playing time.

"It's just nice to have a backup catcher that does the things he does," Sveum said. "To win some games like that, when your backup catcher or guys that are on the bench have games like that, it's nice.

"That's something [Navarro] will never forget. It was a pretty special day."

Navarro said he understands his role on the team and was just trying to revel in his career day. When asked if he had ever hit three home runs in a game before, Navarro joked he hit two in Little League once.

After leaving the park his first two trips up, Navarro admitted the thought of homering a third time crossed his mind during his next two plate appearances.

"[My teammates] were really happy," he said. "That's what we work hard for. We try to keep ourselves loose and we try to joke about it and it just feels really nice."

As for the bat, Navarro said he's going to keep using it. But what if it breaks?

"I'm gonna cry," he laughed.