Daniel Nava hit a grand slam home run from the first pitch he faced in Major League Baseball to help the Boston Red Sox rout the slumping Philadelphia Phillies 10-2 on Saturday evening. Nava, who sent his first pitch from Joe Blanton into the Boston bullpen in right field, is only the fourth major league player to mark his debut on the plate with a grand slam.
"As I was rounding the bases, I thought, 'Wait a second. I just hit a grand slam'. That's probably why I was sprinting the whole time. I was just so pumped for that moment," Nava told reporters in a post-match press conference. The bases were also loaded the next time Nava, 27, came to the plate, but there was no repeat as he struck out. While the switch-hitting left fielder said he was excited with his big-league debut, he was not about to read too much into the performance and his long-term credentials with the Red Sox.
"Who knows what's going to happen tomorrow. You saw what happened in my next at-bat, I struck out," Nava said. "So you can go from having a good at-bat to the next at-bat looking like you never played baseball. But obviously I'm enjoying it right now." Blaton told reporters what his strategy had been when Nava had come out to bat. "I knew it was his first at-bat, but I tried to throw him a sinker," he said. "I threw it right down the middle and it didn't sink."
One day after roughing up the Phillies with a 17-hit, 12-2 victory, the Red Sox pounded out 16 hits on a rainy and cool evening at sold-out Fenway Park. JD Drew had three hits and two RBIs for the Red Sox, including his seventh home run of the campaign, a solo shot in Boston's five-run second inning. Philadelphia's record on May 23 was a National League-best 23-13, but their offence has since gone to sleep and they have won just seven of their last 23 games.
Since the beginning of their decline in form, the Phillies have been outscored 106-55 and the offence has either been shut out or limited to one run 11 times. Blanton (1-5) took the loss for Philadelphia, the defending National League champion, after giving up nine earned runs and 13 hits in four innings. But it was not all good news for the Red Sox. Daisuke Matsuzaka, their right-handed pitcher has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right forearm strain