Jankowski hits unlikely first MLB homer
SAN FRANCISCO -- As a reward for hitting his first Major League home run Sunday, Padres rookie center fielder Travis Jankowski certainly got the cold shoulder.
At the very least, he got the silent treatment and then a seat on the bench during the team's 10-3 loss to the Giants at AT&T Park, as San Francisco finished a three-game sweep of the Padres.
Jankowski, promoted from Triple-A El Paso on Aug. 19, lifted a second-inning pitch from Giants pitcher Mike Leake into the right-field seats, which gave the Padres a 3-0 lead and amounted to their last highlight of the day.
"I wasn't thinking it was gone off the bat. When I got to second base, the umpire said it was a home run, I thought, 'Oh, that's cool.' It was a new feeling," Jankowski said.
It was all downhill from there, as the Giants scored four runs in the bottom of the second inning and then coasted to victory in a series where they outscored the Padres, 27-4.
But about that home run ...
Jankowski came into Sunday's game with just three long balls to show for his first 1,489 professional plate appearances. Simply put, power is not his game. Speed is, on the bases and running down fly balls in center field.
But home runs?
"To be honest, they're kind of few and far between. My game is speed, hitting the ball on the ground, line drives, hard ground balls. Honestly, any home run I hit is kind of a mistake," Jankowski said. "Today I got a pitch up that I could handle and back-spun it to right field."
When Jankowski returned to the dugout after his home run, he was met by, well, nothing. No teammates, no high-fives, no happy faces. The old silent treatment.
"I kind of figured that was coming," Jankowski said, smiling. "I gave Jedd [Gyorko] a high-five and [interim manager Pat Murphy] a handshake and then looked around and no one was there. So I played it off, I pretended they were there, gave some [phantom] high-fives."
Jankowski only played four innings, going 1-for-2 before being moved out as part of a double-switch as the Padres had to mix and match pitchers on a bullpen day. He hasn't played as much with the return of Wil Myers and with Melvin Upton Jr. needing at-bats. But Jankowski, hitting .196, put a charge in one Sunday.
"I'm really happy for him. It hasn't been the easiest transition for him, with all the things going on," Murphy said. "But I'm proud of the way he's hung in there. We're getting a lot of guys looks as part of September, when you're not part of the playoff race. But you still want to win the games."