McCann's first career HR of inside-the-park variety
Tigers rookie catcher sets off 'slight mayhem' in dugout with memorable shot
MINNEAPOLIS -- Tigers catcher James McCann earned his first Major League home run the hard way on Wednesday afternoon at Target Field.
McCann hit a two-run inside-the-park home run to tie the game in the sixth inning, sparking the Tigers to a 10-7 victory over the Twins.
"I've never run that far in a baseball game before, but I guess this is how you draw up your first home run," McCann said with a laugh.
According to Statcast, the ball left McCann's bat with an exit velocity of 102.5 mph. Twins center fielder Jordan Schafer never seemed to get a good bead on the ball as he battled the sun, and he topped out at 16.3 mph before reaching the warning track, at which point the ball ricocheted off of the wall -- and then him -- and into right field. McCann, who isn't exactly a speedster, took 7.6 seconds to reach his top speed of 18.8 mph, but he ended up scoring with relative ease.
Third-base coach Dave Clark waved McCann home, and by the time second baseman Brian Dozier's relay through reached the plate, McCann had slid in safely with a two-run inside-the-park home run.
"Slight mayhem in the dugout," was how Tigers manager Brad Ausmus described the reaction of McCann's teammates. "It was his first home run, so we were excited for him. It was a big play in the game. It's not something you see very often, the first home run for a catcher being an inside-the-parker."
According to STATS Inc., McCann was the first Tiger whose first Major League homer was an inside-the-parker since Frank Lary on April 17, 1956, against the Kansas City Athletics. Before McCann, the last Tiger to hit an inside-the-park home run was Austin Jackson, on Aug. 10, 2012, at Texas.
"When I saw it kick off the wall, I didn't realize how far it kicked and I thought I just had a triple," McCann said. "Clarkie kept bringing me halfway to third and that's when I realized I had a shot at an inside-the-parker."
Catchers don't often get the chance to sprint that far, but McCann said he didn't feel the physical effects of his labor until later.
"The legs were fine," he said. "I think the biggest thing I noticed, it was maybe an out or two into the next inning, and I was still out of breath from running that far."