The honors keep coming for Jason Bay -- almost as fast as his home run balls are leaving the ballpark. After receiving National League Player of the Week honors in consecutive weeks, Bay was named National League Player of the Month for May. Bay, who put on his best Barry Bonds impersonation during his award-winning month, becomes the first Pirate to win the award since Bonds did it in September 1992.
The left fielder homered in six consecutive games from May 22-28, and his blast on the final day of the month gave him 12 to set a Pirates record for May. "I don't know that there is a hotter hitter in the league," Bucs manager Jim Tracy said. "With the type of at-bats that he's taking right now, I think you're beginning to see a guy that is reaching for a level beyond what you've see him do here the last couple of years. I think you are going to continue to see him do that." "I'm starting to pinch myself when I get in the dugout," Bay said during his streak. Just as the power came in a spurt for the Canadian-born slugger, his hitting for average did too. Bay ended May on a nine-game hitting streak that included five straight multi-hit games. His 16-for-40 stretch capped a month that would see him hit .321 with an astronomical 1.090 OPS. Bay's 35 RBIs were best in the National League. His surge has brought life to the Pirates, who have struggled but finished the month winners of five of their last six. Bay beat out a crop of National Leaguers with plenty of credentials, including Dodgers first baseman Nomar Garciaparra, who hit .375 with 28 RBIs, Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard, who led the league with 13 home runs and Rockies outfielder Matt Holliday, who hit .400 with eight homers and 15 RBIs. Diamondbacks outfielder Eric Byrnes, Marlins third baseman Miguel Cabrera, Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols and Nationals outfielder Alfonso Soriano also recieved votes for the award.
Zachary Levine is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.