Rookie Relief Pitcher Daniel Camarena Hits Most Shocking Grand Slam of MLB Season

Camarena sparked a rally for the Padres with a four-run shot off Washington ace Max Scherzer

Daniel Camarena celebrates after hitting a grand slam against the Washington Nationals.
Daniel Camarena celebrates after hitting a grand slam against the Washington Nationals.
Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty

Slam Diego welcomed an unexpected resident on Thursday as the Padres overcame an eight-run deficit in an eventual 9-8 win over the visiting Washington Nationals.

Daniel Camarena, a rookie relief pitcher who was forced into action in the fourth inning after All-Star starter Yu Darvish exited the game when his left hip tightened up, came up to bat with the bases loaded and two outs with the Padres trailing 8-2.

Facing Washington ace Max Scherzer, Camarena bashed a 1-2 fastball deep into the right-field stands to pull the Padres to 8-6. The blast was 28-year-old Camarena’s first major league hit.

Camarena’s blast was part of a seven-run inning for the Padres that pulled San Diego within striking distance and chased Scherzer from the game after 3 2/3 innings. It took until the ninth inning for San Diego to take the lead, but the Padres got the win thanks to Trent Grisham’s RBI single in the game’s final frame.

Following the comeback win, Camarena said he was just trying to put the ball in play and was just as surprised as everyone else when he took Scherzer deep.

“Oh my God, I blacked out,” he said. “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.”

Other than Bill Duggleby of the Philadelphia Phillies (April 21, 1898), Camarena is the only pitcher in history whose first career hit was a grand slam.

For Scherzer, who gave up seven runs in his brief outing, it was his first home run allowed to a pitcher and the fourth time he’s given up a grand slam in a 14-year career.

The Padres have five grand slams this season and 12 since the start of the 2020 season, the most of any team in baseball. 

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