Santana gets first Major League hit, win

Pitcher shows he's got some pop at plate, drives in two in fourth

June 2nd, 2018

DENVER -- Dodgers pitching prospect made his Major League debut Friday night and provided plenty to chew on.

He showed a lively mix of pitches and a surprisingly lethal bat, lacing a two-run double with the bases loaded in his first plate appearance. He also allowed five runs in 3 2/3 innings, coughed up two leads, hit the opposing pitcher with a pitch and yet was credited with the victory in an 11-8 win over the Rockies.

"It was beautiful to run out of the bullpen and face these batters I had only seen on TV," Santana said. "It was a great experience. I thank my team for helping me get my first win."

Santana, however, was asked to debut at inhospitable Coors Field, of all places. He realized what he was in for as he was warming up before entering the game in the second inning.

"I was in the bullpen, seeing all the balls being hit, and I thought, wow, balls are going all over the place," Santana said. "I had to adjust when I got on the mound. I noticed the balls are different, the seams aren't as thick."

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was non-committal about the next assignment for Santana, used as a reliever in this game after the Dodgers started .

"We're going to talk through it," Roberts said. "With the uncertainty of our staff, we have an off-day Monday and Dennis is in the mix [for a start]. Don't know how it will play out. He's down through the off-day. We'll see if it makes sense for him to make a start. See if we want guys to take an extra day."

Santana was called up after only two starts at Triple-A because injuries have decimated the rotation, with four members (, Rich Hill, and ) currently on the disabled list.

Santana might deserve a start just to get more at-bats. Batting in the top of the fourth inning with one out and the bases loaded, Santana pulled a first pitch from into the left-field corner for a two-run double that tied the game. By the time the inning was over, the Dodgers led the Rockies, 5-4.

"I just went up there with a positive mindset of swinging at anything that was there and that's what happened," Santana said.

A shortstop when he was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2013, the 22-year-old Santana hit only .198 before his conversion, and has raced through the Dodgers' farm system since. He was promoted earlier this week from Triple-A Oklahoma City following a promotion after eight starts at Double-A Tulsa. He is the No. 9-ranked prospect in the organization by MLB Pipeline.

"Obviously, the game was fast," Roberts said. "He had a lot of emotions, adrenaline. They put some good swings on some good pitches. Hopefully, he learned something from it. The velocity was good, the fastball command obviously wasn't consistent. Some good sliders, not consistent, but in altitude it's hard sometimes."