Twins' Kepler breaks 0-for-21 skid with 3 homers

CLEVELAND -- Minnesota's Max Kepler homered three times against the Cleveland Indians on Thursday night after entering the game in an 0-for-21 slump.

Kepler connected in the first, third and seventh innings against Indians starter Trevor Bauer in the Twins' 5-4 victory. Kepler walked in the fifth and in the ninth -- when he had a chance to become the 19th player to hit four homers in one game -- he reached on an infield single off left-hander Josh Smith.

Kepler said history wasn't on his mind.

"I thought about it for a second, but I got back within myself and had the same approach as every other at-bat -- see it and try to put the bat on it,'' Kepler said.

It was Kepler's second career three-homer game. The other one also came against the Indians on Aug. 1, 2016, and Kepler acknowledged having a brief flashback to that performance.

"The game is very unique. Odd things like this happen and crazy situations that you can't really pin,'' he said. "But I'm honored to be a part of it. Some days you don't see the ball great, other days you see it like a beach ball.''

Kepler's homers came on a changeup, fastball and slider.

"Two of them I felt like were pitches that were supposed to be in my favor,'' Bauer said. "Clearly, they weren't.''

Kepler joined Hall of Famer Ted Williams as the only players to have multiple three-homer games against Cleveland. Williams did it in 1946 and 1957.

J.D. Martinez was the last player to hit four homers in a game when he did it with Arizona on Sept. 4, 2017. The last AL player to do it was Josh Hamilton for Texas on May 8, 2012.

The Twins have had 10 three-homer games in their history, most recently by Eddie Rosario on June 3, 2018.

No Minnesota player has ever homered four times in a game.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.