The hot stove season is colder than Nidavellir before Thor jump-started it, and I don’t see any Gods of Thunder walking through that door (oh please, you saw the movie). So let’s warm ourselves up a bit with some epic home run-admiring.
The home run hitter was Twins catcher Willians Astudillo, who is currently playing in the Venezuelan Winter League for Caribes de Anzoategui. No word if he’s running like the wind, but he’s raking down there, and has led his team into the postseason.
Last night he hit a big eighth inning homer and, oh my God, just watch his reaction:
If he took that knee and watched that ball fly out like that in a major league game every white dude over the age of 50 who had ever played high school baseball would be stricken with a case of the vapors and every bearded pitcher from the U.S. south or western exurbia would give taciturn quotes about how “that’s just not right.” Madison Bumgarner would likely stroke out. Frankly, I’d be worried about him.
The rest of us, however, thank you, Mr. Astudillo. We thank you for bringing us a bit of baseball joy in what has become a slog of an offseason.
The Padres turned out in remarkable fashion on Saturday, following up on Friday’s 6-3 win with a decisive 19-run effort to take the series from the Blue Jays. Rookie right-hander Cal Quantrill spun six strong innings, holding Toronto to three runs and striking out nine of 22 batters, but it was the Padres’ offense that really sealed the deal.
Of the 19 runs they put up, seven landed for home runs — establishing a franchise-best record for most home runs amassed during a single game.
Wil Myers and Ian Kinsler went back-to-back for the first two homers, each coming off of an Edwin Jackson pitch in the second inning. Myers’ 351-foot blast was his eighth of the season, while Kinsler’s 382-footer marked his sixth so far this spring. Two innings later, in the fourth, Jackson once again set the table for Austin Hedges, who promptly went yard with the first grand slam of his five-year career in the majors and boosted the Padres to a six-run advantage.
The home runs came for the Blue Jays, too — Lourdes Gurriel Jr. plucked one from a bouquet of sliders in the second, while Justin Smoak collected his ninth homer on a first-pitch fastball in the fourth — but it wasn’t nearly enough to keep pace with the Padres. In the sixth, Hunter Renfroe took his turn against Derek Law and punched a two-run shot out to center field. He returned in the eighth for a second helping, sandwiching another 376-foot home run in between a solo homer from Eric Hosmer and a two-RBI knock from Myers, too.
By the time the dust settled, the Padres had gathered 19 runs on 20 hits. They finished the game just one run shy of tying their single-game record for runs scored, a feat no Padres’ lineup has replicated since their 20-7 rout of the Expos on May 19, 2001.