Down four runs in the top of the loaded ninth inning, Darren Baker of the Washington Nationals hit the game-tying grand slam on Friday. The fun part: It helped lead his team to an 11-7 victory over the Houston Astros, managed by his father, Dusty Baker.
The Astros lost eight in the ninth inning before squandering a four-run lead in the Big League spring game. Darren’s teammates explode with excitement after the big hit. He told the Houston Chronicle, “I don’t know when I’ve been surrounded like that in the dugout… It was like an out-of-body experience.”
“I Didn’t Know Whether to Be a Proud Poppa or an Angry Poppa,” Astros Manager Said after loss.
“He didn’t want to talk to me after the game,” Darren said with a laugh, 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 share a house together every spring, so Dusty won’t be able to avoid the 24-year-old for long. You can watch the drama below, along with the consolation Darren offered to his father, as he offered to buy him dinner via Twitter with a loving emoji.
Darren was the Nationals’ 10th round pick out of Cal in 2021. Last season he played for both High A Wilmington and Class AA Harrisburg.
Although his professional career was yet to begin, Darren carved a niche in baseball lore when he was just three years old. During the seventh inning of Game 5 of the 2002 World Series, he was nearly run out at home plate after a two-run single off San Francisco Giants outfielder Kenny Lofton.
Serving as a bat boy for the Giants, he got too close to home plate in the middle of the play. Giants first baseman JT Snow had crossed home plate safely before Darren could take the field and pull him in safely as a David Bell single on a mission to score.
As a result of that play, MLB enacted a rule requiring all bat boys to be at least 14 years old. Darren and Snow recreated the moment during the team’s 10-year reunion in 2012.