Former Southern Miss baseball standout Brian Dozier is having what could turn out to be a historic season for a struggling Minnesota Twins squad.
The Kansas City Royals topped the Twins 11-5 on Monday in Minneapolis, but Dozier put together one of his most impressive performances as a major leaguer. He hit three home runs in a 3-for-5 performance at the plate with four RBIs.
That big day brings Dozier's home run total to 38, which ranks second in the majors. He is three behind MLB leader Mark Trumbo, a first baseman for the Baltimore Orioles.
Of those homers, 36 have come while Dozier is playing second base. The American League record for home runs by a second baseman is 39 by Alfonso Soriano of the New York Yankees in 2002.
If he keeps his current pace, he could also threaten the single-season major league record for home runs in a season – 42. That mark was reached by the Atlanta Braves' Davey Johnson in 1973 and Rogers Hornsby of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1922.
The Twins have 24 games remaining in the season and Dozier has hit at least one home run in the last four games and 21 since July 31.
Dozier's second homer on Monday traveled 446 feet into the second deck in left field at Target Field for a 2-run home run. His third homer carried into the upper deck in left.
Dozier became Monday the first Twins player to hit more than 35 homers in a season since Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew hit 41 in 1970.
Dozier, who grew up in Fulton near Tupelo, hit 10 home runs this season against the Royals, the most ever by a single player against the team.
Dozier became the sixth Twins player to hit three home runs in a game and the first to do it at home.
The former USM shortstop has seen his home run production increase in each of his five seasons in the big leagues. He hit 23 in 2014 and 28 in 2015.