Fernando Tatis Jr.’s first grand slam gave the 21-year-old the major league lead in home runs over Mike Trout and a career-high seven RBIs. It should’ve been a great moment, but it quickly turned sour when he began to get blasted for his actions.
Tatis Jr. came to the plate in the eighth with his San Diego Padres up 10-3 on the Rangers. After working to a 3-0 count on Juan Nicasio, Tatis swung on the fourth pitch and clobbered the baseball over the right-center wall for a 14-3 Padres lead.
“I think there’s a lot of unwritten rules that are constantly being challenged in today’s game,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said at his news conference after the game. “Yeah, I didn’t like it, personally. You’re up by seven in the eighth inning — it’s typically not a good time to swing 3-0. It’s kind of the way we were all raised in the game. But, like I said, the norms are being challenged on a daily basis, so just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s not right. I don’t think we liked it as a group.”
Padres manager Jayce Tingler said that because the Padres were up seven runs at the time, Tatis did in fact receive a sign to take that pitch.
“Just to make sure we get the signs 3-0 in that game,” Tingler said after the game about what he told Tatis. “Just to make sure and he’s young, a free spirit and focused and all those things and that’s the last thing we’ll ever take away. It’s a learning opportunity and that’s it and he’ll grow from it.”
“Just so you know, a lot of our guys have green light 3-0,” Tingler said. “But in this game in particular, we had a little bit of a comfortable lead. We’re not trying to run up the score or anything like that.”
Afterward, Tatis Jr. apologized:
“Those experiences, you got to learn from it,” Tatis Jr. said. “Probably next time, I take a pitch now that I learned from it.”
The Rangers were so upset with Tatis that they nearly hit San Diego’s next batter, Manny Machado, with a fastball in retaliation.
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