Debra Tracy, a proud mom

Chad Tracy connected on three home runs in three consecutive at-bats on Sunday afternoon. (Rob Ferguson)

By Bob Hersom / | June 28, 2010 2:36 PM ET

Debra Tracy, the wife of Colorado Rockies manager Jim Tracy, watched their son Chad play for the Oklahoma City RedHawks for the first time Sunday.

Her timing was superb. So was her son's.

Chad hit three home runs - over three straight innings - to tie the 60-year-old Pacific Coast League record for homers in consecutive innings.

And he did it on his mother's first visit to AT&T Bricktown Ballpark.

"It was awesome, awesome," said Debra, who hadn't seen her son play since spring training. "I'm proud of him and I've been rooting for him, because he's been in kind of a slump the last few weeks. So I've been waiting for this to happen."

For Chad Tracy, who turns 25 on the Fourth of July, it had never happened before, period. He had never had a three-home run game, not even in little league.

Sitting with Debra and enjoying Sunday's game every bit as much was Emily Saurber, Chad Tracy's girlfriend for a year and half.

"I've seen him hit a lot of home runs, but not three in a row," Emily said. "It was exciting, very exciting."

After Chad homered in the third and fourth innings, he came to bat in the fifth - and homered on the first pitch.

"I looked over at Debra and I said, "Oh, c'mon, let's see it again,'" Emily said. "And she said, "Oh, we're getting greedy now.' But he did it."

Tracy became the fourth player in the RedHawks' 13-year history to hit three homers in a game. The last RedHawk to hit three homers in a game was Nate Gold on July 28, 2008.

The last RedHawk to hit home runs in three consecutive official at bats was Adrian Gonzalez on April 24, 2005, in the second, fourth and sixth innings. Gonzalez did not, however, homer in three straight plate appearances, as he was hit by a pitch (not an official at bat) in the fourth.

On Sunday, an excited Tracy said, "I've had some good days. I've had some two-homer days. But nothing like this."

Tracy joined a war hero as the only players in the PCL's 108-year history to homer in three straight innings. On April 16, 1950, five years after earning a Bronze Star at the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, Sacramento's Bud Souchock homered against Los Angeles in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings.

Tracy's three home runs came on the final four pitches he saw from Omaha starter Gaby Hernandez.

In the third inning, Tracy hit a one-ball, no-strike slider. In the fourth inning, he hit an 0-1 fastball. And in the fifth inning he low-lined a first-pitch, sinking fastball. All landed in the left field bleachers.

Tracy's only other plate appearance came in the seventh inning, against Omaha reliever Matt Herges. His second pitch, a slow, looping and hanging curveball, hit Tracy's left elbow.

"He's played for my dad before, and I know him really well," Tracy said of Herges. "He actually looked out and said, "Man, I'm sorry," when I got on second base. The ball just slipped out of his hand. That's baseball."

Tracy, batting eighth as the RedHawks' designated hitter, finished the game 3-for-3 with five runs batted in and four runs scored. (The PCL home run records are five in a game and four in consecutive plate appearances.)

This has been an up and down season for Tracy, coming off a huge year in Double-A, with 26 homers and 107 RBIs. This year, in his first 22 Triple-A games, he was among the top PCL power hitters, batting .341 with six homers and 21 RBIs.

Then came a month-long slump.

In May he hit .162 and had only one homer and seven RBIs in 27 games.

"He was striking out a lot, chasing bad pitches away," RedHawks manager Bobby Jones said. "He was getting himself out on some bad pitches, but hopefully he's back on track now. He went through a cold stretch and now hopefully now he's on a hot stretch."

Tracy said, "May was really a bad struggle. So I've been working hard on trying to get myself comfortable again, to where I can just go out there and play and not be thinking about stuff while I'm trying to hit."

So far, so good. Tracy is batting .305 in June, with seven homers and 19 RBIs in 24 games. Overall, he's batting .262 with 14 homers and 46 RBIs in 71 games.

"From what I hear," Jones said, "he's a streaky hitter, and when he's hot, look out, and when he's not, look out. They say that when he gets hot he can carry you.

"He's getting back in his groove again and hopefully he can carry us for awhile."

With help from Mom, of course.

"You're the reason he hit three today," Emily Saurber kidded Debra Tracy during Sunday's game.

To which Debra replied to a reporter: "You know what? She said that, and I didn't, OK?"

But the proud parent was smiling when she said it.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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