Daniel Camarena is now a Slam Diego legend.
Daniel Camarena, a Padres rookie pitcher who lined a grand slam off the Nationals’ Max Scherzer for his first MLB hit Thursday night in his second major league game.
OK, a quick review of that line: Rookie pitcher, grand slam, Max Scherzer. As Padres play-by-play announcer Don Orsillo said in his call of the homer, “It’s unbelievable.”
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But what takes the story to another level is that Camarena is a San Diego product — and that it took him 10 years to make it to the Show. Oh, and his family was at the game, too.
The Yankees drafted the left-hander in the 20th round out of high school in 2011 and the Padres signed him as a minor league free agent in February 2020. In between, he played in the Cubs, Giants and Twins organizations, with a few return engagements with the Yankees mixed in. He made his MLB debut June 19 at age 28. The Padres recalled him from Triple-A El Paso earlier Thursday.
Camarena — who had no homers in 31 minor league plate appearances — was batting for himself with Padres trailing 8-2 in the bottom of the fourth inning. He had relieved San Diego starter Yu Darvish in the top of the frame with the Padres down 6-0. He allowed two runs but then got them (and two more) back with the slam. The Padres wound up scoring seven runs in the inning and knocking out Scherzer. They ended up winning the game 9-8 on a Trent Grisham walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth.
OK. quick review of all that: 20th-round pick, 10 years in the minors, hometown team, grand slam, Max Scherzer, seven-run inning.