Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia has always had a flair for the dramatic. He flashed that style again on Friday night, delivering his 100th career home run in the grandest style possible, a grand slam off Oakland A's reliever Ryan Cook, which all but secured Boston's 7-1 victory.
It wasn't a no doubter by any stretch. In fact, A's manager Bob Melvin challenged whether or not it cleanly cleared the Green Monster, which was obviously upheld. Nonetheless, it was a feel good moment for Pedroia, not just because he reached 100 home runs for his career. The home run was his first of the season in 28 games, and his first dating back to last Sept. 17, a span covering 52 games including Boston's entire postseason run.
Pedroia was slowed by a thumb injury last season, and he's been hampered by a sore wrist dating back to the first week of this season. He received a cortisone shot on April 15, so finally being able to put enough power behind a swing to get it in the seats was just as much reassuring as it was special.
"I'm feeling good, [but] I'm still trying to make adjustments every day, trying to get better. I was pretty excited to hit a home run, it's been awhile, I had to make a lot of adjustments last year with my thumb deal, I'm still trying to get back to swinging hard like I normally do," said Pedroia. "I kept my weight back, which is nice, I haven't been doing that lately, I was able to hit it, I kind of hit it off the end but I back-spun it and was just able to get it over the Monster."
It was also memorable for the father and son who ended with the souvenir on top of the Monster. Following the game, they got to meet Pedroia and traded the baseball in for an autographed bat and a photo.
Nice shorts, Pedey.
As for the homer itself, it was also significant for two other reasons.
First, the grand slam pushed him past 500 career RBI. He now sits on 503.
Second, and most significant to him, he's now only the second player in franchise history to hit 100 home runs and steal 100 bases, joining Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski.
"That's weird, man. Crazy. I'm not much of a power hitter," Pedroia said of reaching turning over the homerunometer to triple digits. "[Joining Yastrzemski in the 100/100 club is] crazy. I guess I'm getting old. Having your name said anywhere with his is an accomplishment."
Special company indeed, but don't let him fool you about getting old. At age 30, there's still a lot of baseball left in Dustin Pedroia and certainly more milestones that will fall before he's done. In fact, he's just three doubles away from 300 for his career, and health permitting he seems like a lock to challenge for a top 20 spot on that all-time list. To do so, he'll need to to reach 579 doubles, which would put him past another Boston legend in Wade Boggs.
Pedroia's had a memorable career so far, which includes two World Series championships and an MVP in 2008, and it will be fun to see what he has in store over the next decade.
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