Adam Wainwright turned a special at-bat into a special feat.
Ten years ago, on May 24, 2006, Wainwright swung at the first pitch in his first major-league plate appearance and hit a home run for the Cardinals against the Giants at San Francisco.
Leading off the fifth inning, with the Giants ahead, 4-2, Wainwright hit a Noah Lowry pitch over the left field wall.
Wainwright, 24, had appeared in three games for the 2005 Cardinals and 14 games for the 2006 Cardinals before getting his first plate appearance. He hadn’t taken any batting practice since spring training.
Asked by Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch what he was thinking once he realized he had hit a home run, Wainwright said, “I wasn’t thinking anything until I hit third (base). I was wandering around the bases, making sure I was going the right way. I hit third (base) and I said, ‘Oh, my goodness. I just hit a home run in my first at-bat.’ It was crazy.”
A win and a blast
Chris Carpenter had been scheduled to start for the Cardinals, but he developed bursitis under his right shoulder and was scratched.
Brad Thompson got the start and pitched two innings. After Tyler Johnson pitched the third inning, Wainwright relieved.
With the score tied at 2-2, Wainwright yielded two runs in the fourth.
Before Wainwright went to bat in the fifth, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa approached him.
“Tony told me to have a good at-bat, so I made sure I swung at the first pitch,” Wainwright told the San Jose Mercury News.
Lowry, a left-hander, threw a fastball. “One of the few fastballs Noah threw for strike one,” Giants manager Felipe Alou said to the Alameda Times-Star.
Said Lowry of Wainwright: “He just jumped out there early and connected.” Video of home run
Wainwright pitched a scoreless fifth. In the sixth, the Cardinals scored twice, taking a 5-4 lead. Wainwright held the Giants scoreless again in the sixth.
For his three innings of relief, Wainwright earned the win in the Cardinals’ 10-4 triumph. “I think that’s just a lucky day,” Wainwright told the Associated Press. Boxscore
Wainwright was one of three Cardinals pitchers to get an extra-base hit in the game. Jason Marquis tripled. Braden Looper doubled.
Wainwright is one of eight Cardinals to hit a home run in his first plate appearance in the major leagues.
_ Eddie Morgan, pinch-hitter, April 14, 1936, vs. Cubs.
_ Wally Moon, center fielder, April 13, 1954, vs. Cubs.
_ Keith McDonald, pinch-hitter, July 4, 2000, vs. Reds.
_ Chris Richard, left fielder, July 17, 2000, vs. Twins.
_ Gene Stechschulte, pinch-hitter, April 17, 2001, vs. Diamondbacks.
_ Hector Luna, second baseman, April 8, 2004, vs. Brewers.
_ Adam Wainwright, pitcher, May 24, 2006, vs. Giants.
_ Mark Worrell, pitcher, June 5, 2008, vs. Nationals.