James River’s Vinnie Pasquantino hits his first unusual MLB home run | Baseball
DETROIT — Vinnie Pasquantino took a most unusual path to home plate on his first major league home run — a furious sprint, a desperate slide and even a tag.
Pasquantino and Hunter Dozier hit back-to-back home runs, leading Brad Keller and the Kansas City Royals against the Detroit Tigers 3-1 on Friday night.
Playing his third game in the majors, the former standout at James River and Old Dominion was 0 for 6 overall when he hit Michael Pineda’s first pitch of the fourth inning deep right. The ball hit the top of the fence, bounced off a railing and returned to the field.
Thinking the ball was in play, Pasquantino tried to fire a brace from it, but Javy Baez took Willi Castro’s throw and tagged the rookie as he slid into the bag. The Tigers shortstop then told Pasquantino to get up and enjoy the last half of his home trot.
“I got tagged at second base by Javy Baez” on the No. 1 home run, Pasquantino said. “It’s cool?”
“I’m glad it was all captured on video because I’m going to show it to my grandkids one day,” he said.
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Thanks to Baez, Pasquantino won the ball back from his first home run, but he also hoped to get another memento from the occasion.
“I sent Javy a shirt and I hope he signs it for me,” he said. “I never really imagined my first major league hit, but there’s no way it’s any better than what happened.”
Pasquantino, 24, was recalled earlier this week from Triple-A Omaha, where he batted .280 with 18 home runs and 67 RBIs in 69 games, walking 37-36 strikeouts.
He is considered the top 100 prospect.
Last year marked a major breakthrough for Pasquantino, a first baseman taken by the Royals in the 11th round of the 2019 MLB Draft out of ODU. At two levels, the 6-foot-4 southpaw was among the best and most polished hitters.
He hit .291 with .384 on-base percentage and 13 homers with the High-A Quad Cities River Bandits. At Double-A Northwest Arkansas, he finished with a .310 ERA, .405 on-base percentage and 11 homers.
Keller (3-9) allowed five hits and two walks in addition to six scoreless innings. Keller came out after hitting rookie Spencer Torkelson in the helmet with an 88mph change to seventh. Torkelson remained standing and left the field under his own power.
“I really hate that my outing ended like this,” Keller said. “You never want to see someone get hit in the head, but I sent a [clubhouse attendant] at their clubhouse and they said he was fine.
Torkelson passed concussion tests.
After the Pasquantino home run, Dozier sent a 2-0 pitch into the Kansas City bullpen. It was the second time this season the Royals had hit back-to-back home runs.