Jake rakes! Meyers hits 1st HR, adds slam

August 15th, 2021

ANAHEIM -- When former starting center fielder Myles Straw was traded to the Indians at the Trade Deadline, didn’t expect he would get a lot of playing time when he was called up at the end of July. With Chas McCormick taking over as the starter in center, Meyers’ role as the fourth outfielder came with few promises of playing time.

But with Kyle Tucker landing on the injured list for health and safety reasons on Saturday, Meyers found himself in the starting lineup for only the second time in his short big league career. And he had a night he’ll never forget.

Meyers became the first Astros player since Lance Berkman in 1999 to slug his first two career homers in the same game, highlighted by a sixth-inning grand slam that broke things open and sent Houston to an 8-2 win -- its fourth in a row -- at Angel Stadium.

“Incredible moment,” Meyers said. “I just had a lot of fun playing with the guys today. It was a great game, and I’m glad we won.”

Meyers is the second player in Astros history to have a multihomer game within his first seven MLB games, joining Orlando Miller (1994). He’s also the third player in club history to drive in at least five runs in a game within his first seven contests. The last to do so was J.R. Towles, who had an eight-RBI game in 2007.

In his other two at-bats, Meyers hit long flyouts. In fact, of the five farthest-hit balls in the game, four were by Meyers. The other was Shohei Ohtani’s 393-foot homer to lead off the bottom of the first inning.

“He’s a very stable young man,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “He’s not overwhelmed by this. In Spring Training, it looked like he might have been trying too hard. We just have to make sure he stays within himself and gets a good pitch to hit. ... Take a whack at it and don’t miss it.”

In the third inning, Meyers belted his first career homer when he hit a Jaime Barria slider a projected 396 feet over the right-field wall. He briefly stopped at third base with coach Omar Lopez before the umpires huddled and determined the ball cleared the yellow line.

“I was just excited when I got to third base and Omar was telling me, ‘That’s a homer, that’s a home run,’” Meyers said. “I just put my head down and started to run, and that’s when I saw it bounce off the wall. I was happy when I heard that, and happy I got to touch home. And then the grand slam on top of it, was just really cool.”

With the bases loaded and no outs in the sixth, Meyers ripped an 0-1 fastball off Junior Guerra high over the right-field wall for the Astros’ second grand slam in as many nights (Tucker hit one in Friday’s 4-1 win). Meyers’ slam traveled 383 feet, according to Statcast, which meant it was one foot shorter than the 384-foot warning-track flyout Meyers had in the fourth inning.

“I was looking for a fastball, or anything up in the zone to just get a run in,” Meyers said. “No outs and bases loaded and got guys in scoring position ... just try to do a job and help the team out. I hit it really well and it ended up going out, so it was a lot of fun.”

Meyers, who the Astros selected out of the University of Nebraska in the 13th round of the 2017 MLB Draft, earned his promotion after hitting .343 at Triple-A Sugar Land with 17 doubles, 16 home runs, 51 RBIs and a 1.006 OPS. It’s unclear how long Tucker will be out, but Baker said Meyers will be in the lineup again Sunday.

“I’ve been following him in Triple-A from the first day I saw him,” Baker said. “I liked his approach and it’s just a matter of time before he was going to figure it out. He had a great night. He got us on the board with his first solo home run and then he really got us on the board with that grand slam. He’s a fine young man. He listens and he learns rather quickly. His future is bright, and we’ll take anything that he can give us.”