Jeremy Peña wanted his Almost Famous moment. Last night, he got it.
Returning to the lineup after a four-game absence (he tweaked his knee Thursday in Minnesota), the Astros rookie made his Boston debut a memorable one, sending Nathan Eovaldi’s second-inning offering high over the Green Monster, his seventh of the season and one of five homers allowed by the right-hander (all in the second inning) in a 13-4 Houston romp. Playing in front of friends and family, the Providence native and University of Maine alum called the experience “unbelievable.”
“You can’t write it,” said Peña in his postgame interview with Julia Morales of AT&T Sportsnet. “After being out a few games, because of the knee, coming back and then, at home, in front of the family, home run, first at-bat. You can’t script it.”
The fan who recovered Peña’s solo blast to left—his first of two hits on the night—remarkably caught another home run later that inning, snagging a two-run shot clobbered by Yuli Gurriel.
In a rematch of last year’s American League Championship Series, Houston was firing on all cylinders Tuesday, exploding for 15 hits—eight of them for extra bases—as the scorching-hot Astros improved to an MLB-best 13-3 for the month of May. Left the unenviable task of replacing All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa (now of the Twins), Peña has surprisingly been a major part of Houston’s early-season success, leading all rookies in home runs (seven), RBI (21), runs scored (19) and wins above replacement (1.8).
Drafted as a third-round pick in 2018, Peña entered the year as one of MLB’s top infield prospects, buoyed by a breakout season at Triple-A Sugar Land in 2021 (.287/.346/.598, 10 HR, 19 RBI, five steals in 30 games). We’ll see what the 24-year-old does for an encore in Wednesday’s series finale at Fenway, beginning at 6:10 PM ET.