Braves’ Huascar Ynoa becomes first pitcher to hit a grand slam since 2018


In a season marred by injuries and underperformance, righty Huascar Ynoa has stepped in and kept the Atlanta Braves rotation afloat. The 22 year old took a 2.96 ERA from five starts (and one relief appearance) into Tuesday night’s start against the Washington Nationals (GameTracker). He struck out 34 batters and walked only six in 27 1/3 innings.

Ynoa is saving Atlanta’s offense, too. He slugged his first career home run in his previous start and he got a brand name: Chicago Cubs ace Kyle Hendricks. On Tuesday, Ynoa hit his second career home run. This one was a grand slam against Nationals righty Tanner Rainey. To the action footage:

Statcast measured the home run at 427 feet, so it was not a cheap little homer. I mean, dead center field! Also, Ynoa threw a 99.6 mph fastball Tuesday night, which was the night’s fastest pitch in baseball at the time. 

Ynoa is the first pitcher to hit a grand slam since Anthony DeSclafani, then with the Cincinnati Reds, in June 2018. He’s also the first pitcher to go deep in back-to-back games since Steven Matz did it with the New York Mets in Sept. 2018. 

Here’s where it gets weird though: Ynoa is the first Braves pitcher to hit a grand slam since lefty Jaime Garcia on July 21, 2017. Three days later, Atlanta traded Garcia to the Minnesota Twins for … Huascar Ynoa. How about that?

With the universal DH expected to become permanent as part of the new collective bargaining agreement next year, there’s a decent chance Ynoa will be the last pitcher to hit a grand slam in baseball history.

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