Move over, Shohei Ohtani—you’re not the only two-way star in Southern California.
Padres relief pitcher Daniel Camarena, who was called up to the big leagues from Triple-A El Paso before Thursday’s game against the Nationals, picked an opportune time to notch his first career hit. Facing three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer with the bases loaded in the fourth inning, Camarena pulled a 96.5 mph fastball into the right field seats for a grand slam.
Camarena is the first relief pitcher since 1985 to hit a grand slam, and the most unlikely player to revive last season’s Slam Diego surge—or is it now Slamarena?
The blast was the highlight in what was a seven-run inning for the Padres, who entered the bottom of the fourth trailing 8-0. Camarena entered the game in the fourth inning after starter Yu Darvish gave up six runs in three innings. He gave up two runs in two innings of relief, but more than made up for it with his contributions at the plate.
Camarena was making just his second career appearance in the big leagues after debuting on June 19. A local product, he attended Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego and pitched over 800 minor league innings before finally getting called up to the majors.
In 31 minor league plate appearances, Camarena managed only five hits (all singles), though he was 2-for-5 in Triple-A this season. If Thursday ends up being his last at-bat in the major leagues, he’ll have picked a great one to end on.
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