Nationals' Darren Baker hits grand slam in win over father Dusty's Astros: 'Dinner on me tonight pops'
Down four runs with the bases loaded in the top of the ninth inning Friday, Washington Nationals prospect Darren Baker hit a game-tying grand slam. The fun part: It helped his team land an 11-7 spring training win over the Houston Astros, managed by his father, Dusty Baker.
The Astros gave up an eight-spot in the ninth, and it all started with Baker's big swing. After the hit, Darren's teammates exploded with excitement.
"I don't know when I've been mobbed like that in the dugout. ... It was an out-of-body-type of experience," he told the Houston Chronicle.
The elder Baker said: "I didn't know whether to be a proud papa or an angry papa."
"He didn't want to speak to me after the game," Darren said via The Houston Chronicle. "I had to run down the third-base line, and he said he'd talk to me later."
The two reportedly live together in a house every spring, so Dusty won't be able to avoid the 24-year-old for long. You can see the play below, along with the consolation Darren offered his father, promising via Twitter to buy dinner.
Dinner on me tonight pops 🏾 https://t.co/o4RBde8Xcs
— Darren Baker (@DarrenBaker_2) March 17, 2023
Darren was the Nationals' 10th-round pick out of Cal in 2021. Last season, he played for High-A Wilmington and Double-A Harrisburg.
While his professional career is only just beginning, Darren etched a place in baseball lore when he was just 3 years old. During the seventh inning of Game 5 of the 2002 World Series, he was nearly run over at home plate after a two-run single from San Francisco Giants outfielder Kenny Lofton.
Working as the bat boy for the Giants, he wandered too close to home plate in the middle of the play. Giants first baseman J.T. Snow had safely crossed home plate before he narrowly pulled Darren to safety as David Bell steamed toward him on a mission to score.
As a result of that play, MLB created a rule requiring all bat boys to be at least 14 years of age. Darren and Snow recreated the moment during the team’s 10-year reunion in 2012.