Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz returned to the lineup on Tuesday afternoon after missing the last two games to visit Jose Fernandez's family and hit his first career grand slam in memory of his longtime friend.
Fernandez was killed in a boating accident Sunday morning. He was just 24 years old.
Diaz and Fernandez grew up just a few doors down from each other in Cuba. Upon hearing the news of Fernandez's death, he spent most of his day with Fernandez’s mother and grandmother in Miami and attended a private memorial service.
The grand slam came in the bottom of the fourth inning as he took a fastball from the Reds’ Robert Stephenson into the stands to score Yadier Molina, Jhonny Peralta and Brandon Moss. It was his 17th home run of the year, and the Cardinals went on to beat the Cincinnati 12–5.
After his home run, Diaz took his helmet off and pointed it toward the sky in a curtain call.
Watch Diaz's grand slam below:
Before the game, Diaz told reporters that he believed the best way to honor Fernandez was “to play with joy.” He also joined Brayan Pena in hanging up Fernandez's jersey in the dugout.
“Sometimes, we forget this is a game,” Diaz said. “You have to have fun out there. That’s what he did. That’s the legacy he leaves us. He loved this game. He liked to compete. He would want us to enjoy the game like he did.”