TORONTO — Kansas City’s Alex Gordon hit Major League Baseball’s record 5,694th home run of 2017 on Tuesday night, breaking a season record set in 2000 at the height of the Steroids Era.
Gordon’s home run off Toronto’s Ryan Tepera, which cut the Royals’ deficit to 5-2, was his eighth this season and the 159th of his 11-year big league career.
It was the 17th of the night and came just after Detroit’s Alex Presley tied the record when he connected at home against Oakland’s Daniel Gossett.
There were 5,610 homers last year, an average of 2.31 per game, and this year’s average of 2.53 entering Tuesday’s action projects to 6,139. That would be up 47 percent from 4,186 in 2014.
Power subsided after the start of drug testing with penalties in 2004. The home run average dropped in 2014 to its lowest level since 1992, then started rising during the second half of the 2015 season.
When the previous record of 5,693 was set in 2000, Sammy Sosa led the major leagues with 50 home runs and Barry Bonds hit 49.
Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton leads the major leagues with 55 home runs this year, followed by New York Yankees rookie Aaron Judge with 44.