July 10, 2010

Johan Santana's First Home Run

Johan Santana hit his first career home run last Tuesday night, against the Reds' Matt Maloney, while also pitching a complete game, three-hit shutout, winning 3-0. What I did not realize until last night was that Santana hit the homer on the 12th pitch of his at-bat.

Santana batted with one out in the bottom of the third and Ruben Tejada on first base. On the first pitch, ball 1, Tejada was caught stealing. Santana then fouled off six pitches, took ball two in the dirt, fouled off three more, and homered down the right field line. (He led all Mets batters in Win Probability Added.)

A SABR member wondered if any other pitchers had homered so deep into an at-bat before. Jeff Allen reported:
Since pitch-count data isn't available for all years, this isn't a definitive answer, but ... No pitcher has ever hit a home run as late in the at bat as Santana did. No pitcher had ever hit one once the pitch count reached double digits, in fact. The record before Santana was a home run on the 9th pitch of the at bat, which happened twice. The first was on July 11, 1991, by Bob Ojeda off Mark Gardner, a 2-run HR in the 2nd. The second was June 6, 1993, by Chris Hammond off Doug Brocail, a solo shot in the 4th.

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