Royals' MJ Melendez Belts First Career Grand Slam After Thrilling 12-Pitch At-Bat

May 25, 2024; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Kansas City Royals left fielder MJ Melendez (1) bats in the second inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.
May 25, 2024; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Kansas City Royals left fielder MJ Melendez (1) bats in the second inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. / Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
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There is nothing in baseball that quite approaches the thrill of the lengthy at-bat. When a batter buckles down and starts fouling off pitches, fans know they're about to witness something special: a total, hard-earned one-on-one victory by either the hitter or their foe.

On Saturday, Kansas City Royals left fielder MJ Melendez punctuated one such at-bat in the most dramatic way possible: with the first grand slam of his career.

Here's what happened. With two outs in the top of the sixth inning and the bases loaded, Melendez dug in against Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Blake Treinen. After throwing Melendez a ball, Treinen went ahead 1–2 with a pair of cutters.

When Treinen missed on a slider, Melendez responded by fouling off the next six pitches in succession. A cutter high and inside on pitch 11 rendered the count full, and Melendez smashed the 12th pitch over the right field wall to give the Royals a 5–2 lead.

The game's stars may get the glory, but it's fascinating showdowns like these between ordinary players that have kept baseball endlessly relevant for the past 150 years.


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Patrick Andres

PATRICK ANDRES

Patrick Andres is a staff writer on the Breaking and Trending News team at Sports Illustrated. He joined SI in December 2022, having worked for The Blade, Athlon Sports, Fear the Sword and Diamond Digest. Andres has covered everything from zero-attendance Big Ten basketball to a seven-overtime college football game. He is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism with a double major in history .