Fireworks night at Greater Reno Field isn't scheduled until Friday. Kevin Cron and Tim Locastro started the show early.
The Arizona farmhands slugged three home runs apiece in Triple-A Reno's 15-5 romp over Fresno on Thursday night, tying the club record with six roundtrippers. The two sluggers combined for 25 total bases and 13 RBIs and made Aces' history as the first duo to hit three homers each in the same game. The phenom has occurred just once in the Major Leagues, when Jeromy Burnitz and Richie Sexton accomplished the feat for Milwaukee on September 25, 2001.
"We were trying to one-up each other the whole time," Locastro said. "I think the funniest part about the game was before the game, [Cron] actually came up to me and said, 'Let's try to get the team going, let's try and combine for four hits.' Next thing you know, the game is over and we both combined for seven."
Video: Reno's Cron bashes three-run shot for third homer
Cron tied a career best with seven RBIs, while Castro finished the night with six.
The right fielder got the power party started early from the leadoff spot for the Aces, bashing a long ball to right-center field on the second pitch he saw from Fresno starter Henderson Alvarez III. Two batters later, Cron sent a solo blast to the same area.
For Locastro, a native of Auburn, New York, there may have been some hidden motivation for that first home run stemming from a separate sport.
"If I'm being completely honest with you, we were watching the NFL Draft before the game," he said. "I'm a huge Giants fan, and I was a little upset with their pick.
"I sort of had that on my mind in my first at-bat," he laughed. "I think that's one of the keys of baseball, when you're not really thinking about it and things fall into place. The general manager in New York, though, knows more than me, so hopefully it's a good pick."
Gameday box score
The duo struck again in the second against Alvarez. With two outs and nobody on, Locastro skied his second solo dinger to left-center. After Juniel Querecuto reached on a single to left, Cron mashed a line drive over the right-field wall.
In the fourth, Locastro and Querecuto continued to victimize Alvarez, reaching on back-to-back singles to set the table for Cron. The 25-year-old worked a full count off the right-hander before turning on a 3-2 off-speed offering and depositing it over the high portion of the wall in left-center. Cron's ninth of the season knocked Alvarez out of the game and put Reno ahead, 9-3.
Locastro wasn't done yet, though. With the bases loaded and no outs in the fifth, he took full advantage of a 2-1 count from lefty Jordan Mills and rocketed his next pitch to the right-field lawn for a 14-3 lead.
Video: Locastro blasts grand slam for third homer of night
"I had a bunch of my teammates telling me I couldn't let Tim have all the glory on his night and that I was trying to take it from him," Cron joked. "It was a good time in the dugout, any time a team is rolling like ours was tonight, it's going to be fun in the dugout."
"The point of emphasis throughout the day was to just get a good pitch to hit, a pitch that I could do something with but not try to do too much," Locastro added. "It ended up working out both ways."
Not lost on the night for Cron was the fact the 2014 Draft pick was on pace for an even rarer feat -- a natural home run cycle. With a solo home run in the first, a two-run shot in the second and a three-run blast in the fourth, Cron was a grand slam away from the phenomenon.
2019 Minor League milestones
"I caught some slack in the dugout for that too," he said. "I reminded [a teammate] Tim didn't have a two-run home run yet, so I was a little closer."
But Cron did retain some bragging rights. He was a part of the last Reno game in which two players went yard three times, although the long balls came from opposing sides. The infielder traded three-homer games with Salt Lake's Jabari Blash on June 28, 2018. And he now has three three-homer games in his career. His first came for Double-A Jackson in 2017.
"I was just mentioning that game to a teammate of mine -- I can never get the glory all on my own I guess," Cron laughed. "It's pretty cool when that happens, especially now that it's my own team.. .. It was really special getting to come back in the dugout after each of us hitting home runs, just seeing who was going to one up the other next."
"I remember that game," added manager Chris Cron, who doubles as Kevin's father. "When you're on the right side, it's just a joy to watch. You don't expect something like that to happen by any means. ... It was quite eventful. Our offense finally came through with some guys who had huge nights. I've been in the game for 35 years or so, and I don't think I've seen two teammates have three home runs each in a single game. It was a pleasure to watch."
2019 MiLB include
Locastro, who was previously in the Dodgers organization, was acquired by the Yankees in the offseason. His time back in his home state was short-lived, though, as he was traded to Arizona in January. He appeared in 18 big league games for the Dodgers last season, going 2-for-11 and posted a .279/.389/.409 line for Triple-A Oklahoma City. Locastro was called up to the D-backs on April 7 when Alex Avila landed on the injured list and went 4-for-11 in the nine-game stint.
Despite missing over a month of action last year due to injury, Cron's 22 home runs in 2018 still landed him in the top 10 for the Pacific Coast League. He batted .309 with a .921 OPS and missed eclipsing the 100-RBI mark by three.
The Aces picked up their first victory since the first game of an April 18 doubleheader against El Paso. MLB.com's No. 78 overall prospect Taylor Widener earned the win, allowing three runs on six hits over five innings. The 24-year-old right-hander walked four, struck out one and surrendered two home runs, both by Brandon Snyder.