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There’s a good chance the thoughts in my head will exit my mouth don’t say I didn’t warn you shirt, hoodie, tank top
“It’s Fourth of July in St. Louis. It’s packed, a day game,” McDonald said. “I get in the box and you have that rush of emotions and stuff. You’re thinking, ‘I’m here! I did it!” First pitch was right down the middle for a strike, and I’m like, ‘Oh, dear God, I’ve got to hit.’ The second pitch was about in the same place, and I just dropped the bat on the ball and hit a line drive foul to the right. And then, ‘Oh, God, no. Now I need to pay attention. This isn’t just for fun anymore.’ I worked it to 2-2 and he gave me a fastball.
“After pitch three or four, I thought he might be tipping his pitches, so I guessed fastball, off how I thought I saw him grip the baseball. You try and get every advantage possible, right? I mean, without setting up TV monitors and banging trash cans. If you can figure out how somebody’s tipping pitches, or they get into a rut where in a certain count after it’s been set up a certain way, you’ve got to take advantage of that stuff best you can.” There’s a good chance the thoughts in my head will exit my mouth don’t say I didn’t warn you shirt, hoodie, tank top
McDonald deposited that fastball over the fence in left-center, a couple of rows deep.
“I hit the ball off the end of the bat, actually,” McDonald said. “That was the juiced ball year, like it was this past year. So I hit it off the end of the bat and I was like, ‘Awesome! Double! Get to second, you slow piece of s—.’ I tripped over first base and almost fell. It was pretty funny. I didn’t know it was gone until I saw the second-base umpire give the signal for the home run. I was just trying to get to second base.”
Two days later, McDonald got what would be the only start of his MLB career, batting eighth in the Cardinals lineup. Mark McGwire was batting fourth, Eric Davis was fifth, Fernando Tatis was sixth and J.D. Drew was hitting seventh. Batting ninth? Ankiel. Osvaldo Hernandez was on the mound for the Reds
“Tony La Russa said, ‘This guy’s got a really good two-seamer, so he’ll probably start you off with that. Just be ready for it,’” McDonald said. “He threw me a first-pitch two-seamer that was pretty nasty, down and in. Then he threw a get-even fastball and I hit it out. I kinda felt like that one was out, so I was able to enjoy that one a little more.”
McDonald’s home-run streak ended with a four-pitch walk in the third inning. He had an RBI groundout in the fifth and struck out in the seventh. McDonald grounded out in his next at-bat, against the White Sox on July 13, then came to the plate on the 15th with two outs in the ninth inning of a game the Cardinals were losing 15-5.