Who is Daniel Camarena? Padres rookie pitcher goes viral with grand slam off Max Scherzer

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(Getty Images)

Daniel Camarena is now a Slam Diego legend.

Who?

Daniel Camarena, a Padres rookie pitcher who lined a grand slam off the Nationals' Max Scherzer for his first MLB hit Thursday night in his second major league game.   

OK, a quick review of that line: Rookie pitcher, grand slam, Max Scherzer. As Padres play-by-play announcer Don Orsillo said in his call of the homer, "It's unbelievable."

MORE: Who is in the Home Run Derby?

But what takes the story to another level is that Camarena is a San Diego product — and that it took him 10 years to make it to the Show. Oh, and his family was at the game, too.

And MLB added one more amazing fact: Camarena is the first reliever to hit a grand slam since 1985, when Don Robinson did it for the Pirates.  

The Yankees drafted the left-hander in the 20th round out of high school in 2011 and the Padres signed him as a minor league free agent in February 2020. In between, he was a member of the Cubs, Giants and Twins organizations, with a few return engagements with the Yankees mixed in. He made his MLB debut June 19 at age 28. The Padres recalled him from Triple-A El Paso earlier Thursday.

Camarena — who had no homers in 31 minor league plate appearances — was batting for himself with Padres trailing 8-2 in the bottom of the fourth inning. He had relieved San Diego starter Yu Darvish in the top of the frame with the Padres down 6-0. He allowed two runs but then got them (and two more) back with his 416-foot slam. The Padres wound up scoring seven runs in the inning and knocking out Scherzer. They ended up winning the game 9-8 on a Trent Grisham walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth. 

OK. quick review of all that: 20th-round pick, 10 years in the minors, hometown team, grand slam, Max Scherzer, seven-run inning.

Still unbelievable. 

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