(AUDACY) Remember when the Washington Nationals got a big lead on the San Diego Padres early and proceeded to lose it, in part to a rookie relief pitcher's insanely random grand slam?
Yeah, that wasn't going to happen again Monday. This time, the Nationals went up big on an opponent and kept it that way. After surrendering 41 runs to those darn Padres over a three-game series, the Nationals let everything out against the poor, unsuspecting Miami Marlins. They led 4-0 after the first inning and 10-0 after the second. Then it make it worse for Miami, Washington veteran left-hander Jon Lester strode to the plate in the fifth inning and absolutely ruined a baseball, sending it deep over the fence in right-center field.
Lester didn't even record a hit, let alone a homer, in the first nine seasons and 36 at-bats of his MLB career as he played primarily for the Red Sox in the American League. It wasn't until he joined the Cubs and and the National League at age 31 that he recorded his first career base knock, with that coming in 2015 after an MLB-record 0-for-66 start. That same Lester learned kind of quickly though, homering at age 33 in 2017 and proceeding to hit one in each of the next two seasons as well. And considering the 2020 season hardly counts because of the implementation of the universal designated hitter, you can basically make it four straight seasons in which Lester has hit a home run.
That sounds like a stat worthy of digging into, don't you think? As it turns out, Lester is one of only three pitchers — Angels star Shohei Ohtani doesn't count because more than 50% of his career games have come as a non-pitcher — since 2017 with four or more home runs, joining Michael Lorenzen and Madison Bumgarner, according to Stathead. Lester, 37, is also the oldest pitcher to hit a home run in a game since Bartolo Colon did it at 42 years old in 2016, according to WUSA9 anchor Darren M. Haynes.
Lester also threw seven scoreless innings and struck out seven in earning the win in the Nationals' 18-1 victory Monday.