San Diego Padres rookie reliever Daniel Camarena gave “Slam Diego” a whole new meaning on Thursday night.
The 28-year-old hit a stunning grand slam off Nationals ace Max Scherzer as his hometown Padres overcame an eight-run deficit, beating Washington 9-8 on a Trent Grisham RBI single in the ninth inning.
Camarena replaced Yu Darvish in the fourth inning and allowed Trea Turner’s second home run of the game, a two-run shot that gave the Nationals an 8-0 lead.
The left-hander then stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs in the fourth, hitting a 1-2 fastball into the right-field stands for his first MLB hit. It was the first time Scherzer gave up a home run to a pitcher in his 14-year career.
After the game, Camarena said he was just trying to put the ball in play against Scherzer because “that’s hard to do.” He was stunned, like everyone else.
“Oh my God, I blacked out,” he said, according to The Associated Press (h/t ESPN). “I hit first base and then all of a sudden I noticed the lights were flashing in the stadium and that’s when it kind of hit, like, Oh my God I just hit a home run. Not only that, a grand slam.”
Camarena struck out in his only previous at-bat during his Major League Baseball debut earlier this season.
The Bonita, Calif., native became the second pitcher in history whose first hit was a grand slam, joining former Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Bill Duggleby, who accomplished the feat in 1898.
Camarena also became the first relief pitcher to hit a grand slam since Pittsburgh’s Don Robinson in 1985 and was the first Padres player to have a grand slam as his first hit.
Thursday’s game matched the Padres’ biggest comeback in franchise history as San Diego pushed its record to 52-38.