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 his team win 11-7 spring training over the Houston Astros, managed by his father, Dusty Baker.
The Astros left an eight-run spot in the ninth, and it all started with Baker’s big swing. After the hit, Darren’s teammates exploded with excitement.
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.”
The elder Baker said: “I didn’t know whether to be a proud papa or an angry papa.”
“He didn’t want to talk 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 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 a 10th round pick out of the Nationals in 2021. Last season, he played for both High A Wilmington and Double A Harrisburg.
Although his professional career has just begun, Darren carved a niche 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 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 safely crossed home plate before pulling Darren safely to safety as David Bell headed toward him 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.