The former Japanese batting champion hit a pair of home runs, including one to lead off the bottom of the 10th inning, and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Chicago Cubs 4-3 on Thursday. Aoki also hit a solo home run in the fourth inning.
“They don’t do the shaving cream to the face in Japan,” Norichika Aoki said through his translator, who still had globs of shaving cream on his shirt. “You get dirty, but it’s a good feeling. I still can’t believe that I was able to hit two today, and I’m really happy that it was in an important situation,” Aoki said.
Aoki was mobbed by teammates at home plate after hitting the game winner. “It was fun to see,” Brewers closer John Axford said. “I personally just enjoyed the smile on his face when he was coming in from third. He was definitely ecstatic, and so were we.”
Aoki won three Japanese Central League batting championships before signing with the Brewers this offseason, but he hasn’t been known for his power. Aoki entered the game with just one home run this season, an inside-the-park homer on April 20.
But Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said Aoki has good bat speed and makes solid contact, so the two home runs weren’t a complete shock. “He squares up the ball, and it takes off,” Roenicke said. “It’s not soft liners. So yeah, I can see him doing this. As much as he squares up the ball, I can see him doing this.”