San Francisco Giants Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner slugged their way into history on Sunday, becoming the first batterymates to hit grand slams in the same game as the Giants defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks, 8-4. Bumgarner also became the first pitcher since 1966 to hit two grand slams in the same season.
The history-making began in the fifth inning. Vidal Nuno gave up a one-out double to Bumgarner, which was followed by Nuno hitting Hunter Pence and allowing a single by Pablo Sandoval. Next up was Posey, who launched a home run into the left-field bleachers. Posey said later, “I feel like we’ve been needing the big hit. I’m just trying to get a run on the board. Getting four across was great.” Bumgarner added, “Everybody was excited to get a big hit like that. That put us back in the lead. That’s what big-time players do and he’s a good one already.”
Only one inning later, with Matt Stites on the mound for the Diamondbacks, the Giants put together a double, a batter reaching base on an error, and a walk to prepare the way for Bumgarner’s slam. Diamondbacks catcher Tuffy Gosewisch, knowing Bumgarner was not your average-hitting pitcher, consulted with Stites.
“Everybody knows he’s a good hitter,” Gosewisch admitted. “I wanted to go first pitch fastball down and away and it just ran back over the plate.” Stites said, “We had a good conversation about how we were going to attack Bumgarner. I just missed my spot. He’s been swinging it well all year.” Posey was stunned by Bumgarner’s blast, saying, “All we could do was shake our heads. I was asking Rags (Dave Righetti) if any pitcher had ever hit two slams in the same season.”
Bumgarner had a grand slam against Colorado’s Jorge De La Rosa on April 11. When apprised of the fact that he and Posey had made history, Bumgarner said, “That’s pretty cool. This game is full of strange statistics. It seems like there is a first every day. It’s crazy to get that many opportunities as a pitcher.”
Tony Cloninger of the Atlanta Braves was the last pitcher to hit two grand slams in a season, with two in the same game on July 3, 1966. Oddly enough, it came against the Giants in Candlestick Park.
Bumgarner became the fourteenth player to hit two grand slams in the same season. The other thirteen are:
Tony Lazzeri (1936 Yankees)
Jim Tabor (1939 Red Sox)
Rudy York (1946 Red Sox)
Jim Gentile (1961 Orioles)
Tony Cloninger (1966 Braves)
Jim Northrup (1968 Tigers)
Frank Robinson (1970 Orioles)
Robin Ventura (1995 White Sox)
Chris Hoiles. (1998 Orioles)
Fernando Tatis (1999 Cardinals)
Nomar Garciaparra (1999 Red Sox)
Bill Mueller (2003 Red Sox)
Josh Willingham (2009 Nationals)
Tatis is the only player to hit his in the same inning, which gave him the major league record of 8 RBI in one inning.