Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Fourth of July matchup between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates featured five lead changes, but perhaps none was more dramatic than Jonny DeLuca’s pinch-hit, go-ahead home run in the eighth inning.
It marked the 24-year-old’s first career home run, and it would’ve held as the game-hitting hit if not for Evan Phillips blowing a save opportunity in the top of the ninth inning.
“Those are obviously the spots you dream of being in and winning a game,” DeLuca said after the Dodgers’ 9-7 loss. “You can’t really describe it in words. It’s just really special. Having it be here, that was pretty cool.”
DeLuca’s home run came on the sixth pitch of his at-bat against Angel Perdomo, which was a fastball that left the bat at 100.9 mph and traveled 390 feet into the left field pavilion. “He threw a good slider first pitch and then I pretty much took two good pitches,” DeLuca explained.
“I still felt like I was seeing him pretty good, so I just stayed confident in my approach and hoped that I got one in the zone to put a good swing on it. Ended up kind of working back in the count and 3-2 pitch, I was pretty much just sitting dead-red fastball and got it.”
DeLuca received a curtain call from Dodger Stadium in recognition of his first homer, which took him by surprise. “I honestly wasn’t expecting it,” he began.
“They just called me out there, so I was happy as can be. That was pretty cool. I don’t know what to do in that situation, so I just put a hand up. I looked pretty silly.”
DeLuca was gifted the lineup card after the game to commemorate his first home run and said he will give the ball to his father.
Dave Roberts praises Jonny DeLuca
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts gave credit to DeLuca for loading the count against Perdomo and coming through with a clutch home run. “Those first couple swings you didn’t think he had a chance,” Roberts said.
“But he hung in there and to get his first career homer like that was special. He won’t forget about it.”
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