A week of home runs ends with three grand slams on Mother’s Day
Remember the statement, “Chicks dig the long ball”? That statement fit well, with a fury of home runs unleashed this week and ending with a bang as the MLB celebrates Moms. There were a lot of moments to look at and could easily be dissected but Sunday changed everything. Rangers’ Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz, Reds’ Joey Votto and Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton defined going deep.
Mom’s are special people, especially to athletes and nobody celebrates them and awareness like the MLB. This year would mark the sixth consecutive season where hundreds of players would wear the pink breast cancer logo on their uniforms. Also pink bats, gloves, sweat bands, cleats and any other paraphernalia you can think of were seen in every ballpark on Sunday. The pink represents mothers and to raise awareness of breast cancer in the interest of prevention, treatment and a cure.
“I think it’s great,” Rays pitcher James Shields said of MLB’s ongoing efforts to raise awareness of breast cancer. “Everyone has pink bats, pink gloves, pink shoes. [I like] everything they do and just support the cause. It’s one of the best causes out there, so it’s a great thing.”
Outfielder Josh Hamilton’s numbers from this past week are godlike and his numbers on the season represents that status. On the week alone, he went 14-30 (.467 average) with nine home runs (four in one game), 18 RBIs, and two doubles. He also hit two home runs against the Angels on Friday. That boosted his season stats to a .402 batting average, 18 home runs and 44 RBIs. He was still using the bat from that four homer night until Sunday when it broke on an RBI single, the bat is now on its way to Cooperstown.
“She died a hero,” Hamilton said, smiling. “She was ready to go. She was tired.”
First baseman Joey Votto entered Sunday’s game against the Nationals with two home runs on the season. By the time he was mobbed at home plate after his walk off grand slam, Votto now has five home runs. Votto, who is now hitting .316 after the weekend, has been working hard on feeling more comfortable at the plate and Sunday showed that his hard work is paying off.
He hit a home run in the first inning giving the Reds a 1-0 lead. He then hit a game tying home run in the fourth, bringing the score to 2-2. After a solid eighth inning cutting the Nationals lead to one, the Reds loaded the bases with two outs for their slugging first baseman. Votto wins the game on his second career grand slam and third career walk off homer.
“Moments like this, this is kind of the icing on the cake, but all the little grinder type things are more my style,” Votto said.
Outfielder Giancarlo Stanton didn’t waste anytime once he stepped in the batter’s box in the ninth inning in the Marlins rubber match against the Mets. With two outs, bases loaded and the game tied 2-2, Stanton sent the first pitch off the Mets’ Manny Acosta to dead center field.
It was his third career grand slam and the first time the Marlins won on a game-ending grand slam since Dan Uggla’s in 2008. It was also the second of three grand slams in the day and the second walk off grand slam of the day.
“That was one of those no-doubters right off the bat, so it was good I could just sit and watch it,” said Stanton.
It wasn’t a walk off, but it was an important at bat for outfielder Nelson Cruz. He is not having a terrible start and knows he can do better. Cruz was facing Angels Jered Weaver, who’s starting to get hot, except for Sunday night. The Rangers beat up on Weaver, who gave up 8 runs and a grand slam to Nelson Cruz.
The big fly is hoping to boost the confidence of the outfielder who has only 13 extra bases on the year. Cruz served a 2-0 changeup over the left field wall, which marked his third home run of the season and his third career grand slam.
“I knew he was trying to throw a breaking pitch,” Cruz said. “I was able to drive it.”
Josh Hamilton provided us a historic moment during the week, while the week ends in excitement as MLB honors moms and breast cancer awareness. Everybody will be watching Hamilton as he continues to pulverize baseballs in every ballpark he enters and see if pitchers can find an answer to getting him out.