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Exactly 22 years after his father hit two grand slams in an inning at Dodger Stadium, Fernando Tatis Jr. has two home runs of his own
April 23 is a special day in the Tatis household. It was on this date in 1999 that Fernando Tatis, then with the St. Louis Cardinals, etched his name in baseball lore with a performance that will likely never be matched, let alone surpassed. Now, 22 years later and in the same stadium, his son is having his own memorable game.
Fernando Tatis Jr. homered twice off Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw on Friday night, single-handedly providing the San Diego Padres with their 3-1 advantage as they play in the seventh inning at Dodger Stadium.
Tatis, batting just .160 and with one home run in seven games since returning from the injured list, reached on an error in his first at-bat before coming to the plate again with one out in the third. Kershaw threw him a 90-mph fastball on the first pitch, one Tatis didn’t miss. He sent it 431 feet into the left-field bleachers to break a 1-1 tie between the NL West rivals.
Fernando Tatis, Jr. was just getting started
But he wasn’t finished there. With two outs in the fifth, Tatis hit a 115.9 mph line drive down the left-field line that stayed fair for his second home run of the game. It was the hardest-hit home run by a Padres hitter since Franchy Cordero on April 28, 2018, and made Tatis only the sixth batter in the Statcast era with two home runs with an exit velocity of at least 113 mph in the same game.
In a magical coincidence that shows what makes baseball so special, his performance bares a striking resemblance to what his father did in this same stadium. The elder Tatis became the first batter in MLB history to hit two grand slams in the same inning against the Dodgers on April 23, 1999, both off Chan Ho Park as part of an 11-run outburst by the Cardinals. The odds of hitting two grand slams in an inning are estimated to be around one-in-12 million. No one else has replicated what Tatis did or likely ever will.
Tatis Jr. was just three months old when his father made history, but he’s quickly making his own mark on the game. He’s the youngest visiting player ever with multiple two-homer games at Dodger Stadium, having also homered twice here on July 7, 2019. He’s the eighth batter to hit two home runs in a game off the future Hall of Famer Kershaw.
He now leads the Padres with five home runs this season despite missing 10 games with a shoulder injury that he’s attempting to play through. More importantly, he’s put the Padres in a position to take the first two games of the series against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
Magic seems to happen for the entire family on this date, and they’ll have it circled on the calendar for years to come.