In the five weeks before he was recalled from triple-A Salt Lake, Francisco Arcia had nine RBIs.
In his first seven at-bats with the Angels, he has 10.
Twelve seasons and nearly 600 minor league games of pent-up idling has burst into a most unlikely story in Anaheim, where Arcia again led the Angels to a resounding victory, this time 11-5 over Seattle.
The 28-year-old rookie, on his third day in the big leagues, hit his second career three-run homer and drove in three more runs on two doubles to finish with six RBIs.
That gave Arcia, who didn’t play Friday, 10 RBIs in his first two career games, something that no big-leaguer ever had done. The RBI became official in 1920.
“I feel great,” he said. “I feel amazing. I didn’t know I was going to be part of a record. I just try to do my work the best I can.”
Arcia’s performance has been so historic, in fact, that his 10 RBIs already are the most for any player in his first three games.
After doubling in a run off Felix Hernandez in his first at-bat, Arcia faced reliever Casey Lawrence his second time up with two men on base. He smacked a 2-2 changeup from Lawrence over the wall in right.
At that point, in just six at-bats, Arcia had matched Mike Trout with two three-run homers for the season.
“It’s still the same, the same dream,” said Arcia, who called his debut Thursday a dream fulfilled. “I can’t believe it. I feel proud. I think all the hard work I put in during my career has made it come true.”
Two innings later, again with two men on, he ripped Lawrence’s first pitch down the right-field line for his second double,driving in two more runs.
Joe Cunningham of the 1954 St. Louis Cardinals held the previous record of nine RBIs through two career games.
To appreciate how difficult it can be to drive in 10 runs, consider that Justin Upton, who began Saturday tied for the Angels’ lead with 58 RBIs, drove in nine runs total in June.
And Arcia had a chance to add even more. In his final plate appearance, in the seventh inning, with Ian Kinsler in scoring position at second, he grounded out.
So, through two games, Arcia has five hits — two homers, two doubles and a single — in eight at-bats.
All of this production also has come with Arcia batting eighth for the Angels.
“I feel happy for someone who was just grinding it out in the minor leagues,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “To get this opportunity and do what he’s done the first two days … that’s incredible.”
A native of Venezuela,Arcia wouldn’t even be an Angel today had the team not traded starting catcher Martin Maldonado on Thursday. He was last seen by most of his teammates in spring training.
The Angels went through four catchers this season before arriving at Arcia, who was so unknown that a member of the team’s television crew had to ask Thursday how he pronounces his last name.