It had to be a home run.
You knew it wasn’t going to be an infield single or a blooper into shallow left-center.
No, Jarred Kelenic’s first big-league hit had to match the hype surrounding his call-up and fit with his self-assured personality.
After going hitless in his MLB debut Thursday night and striking out in his first at-bat Friday, the Mariners’ precocious prospect gave the fans at T-Mobile Park what they wanted to see in his second at-bat — a glimpse of that talent and power in the form of a laser into the outfield seats.
Facing Cleveland starter Aaron Civale, who came into the game with a 5-0 record and a 2.91 ERA in seven starts, Kelenic jumped on a low splitfinger fastball on the outside half the plate. In a testament to his raw strength and compact swing, Kelenic dropped the barrel of the bat on the pitch, sending a line drive over the wall in deep right-center over the 380 sign and into the hands of a fan, who will likely trade the valuable memento to Kelenic for some autographed memorabilia.
Off the bat, Kelenic seemed to know it was a hit and likely a homer. But there was no bat flip or even pose. He ran hard out of the box and didn’t slow down much as he circled the bases. In the stands, his parents and girlfriend screamed, hugged and celebrated.
As he crossed home plate, he pointed directly at them before heading to the dugout. The fans in the stands gave him a standing ovation, screaming for a curtain call. Kelenic appeared from the dugout and on the top step, waved his helmet to acknowledge them.
When he jogged out to left field after the inning was over, the fans in Edgar’s Cantina and in the left-field bleachers and near the left-field foul line gave him a standing ovation.
The last Mariners player to homer for his first MLB hit was Kyle Lewis in 2019.