PITTSBURGH — Not only did the Pittsburgh Pirates’ win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night serve as an epic come-from-behind victory, but it also contained a feel-good moment which served as an exclamation point.
Two pitches after Ke’Bryan Hayes gave the Pirates their first lead with a three-run homer in the seventh, Josh Palacios connected on his first big league home run to pad the Pirates’ lead.
“That was probably the greatest feeling I’ve had in a baseball game. To do that in the major leagues, it’s been a long time coming. But to get my first one, it’s just an amazing feeling,” he said.
Palacios’ homer off of Cardinals reliever Giovanny Gallegos easily cleared the Clemente Wall, measuring 426 feet. Palacios knew he had it right away.
“Yeah, I’ve hit a couple in my day and as soon as I hit that, I was like, ‘Oh yeah. We’re good.'”
The road to Palacios’ first-career round-tripper hasn’t been an easy one. The 27-year-old combined for 42 games from 2021-22 with the Toronto Blue Jays and Washington Nationals, respectively.
The Pirates acquired his services this past offseason when they selected him in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft in December.
Palacios began the year with Double-A Altoona, before quickly getting promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis thanks to strong play.
The Pirates selected his contract on May 9, and Palacios seems to have found his groove as he currently owns a .286 average to go with an .875 OPS.
Palacios has served as a nice story, and he got rewarded with his performance at the plate with an opportunity. He cashed in on that chance on Friday night.
“Any time you check a box for something and Key just homers and the place is going nuts and then he hits one too. Very cool for Josh. I mean the fact that you work your butt off in the big leagues, when you check one of those boxes off it’s really nice and for it to come in such a big moment and be able to extend the league was really kind of a special thing to see,” manager Derek Shelton said.
The moment could have been even more special for Palacios as his parents were supposed to be in attendance. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to make it.
Palacios, who was all smiles after the game, will still make it worth their while. He has plans for that first home run ball.
“I’m probably going to bring it home and give it to my pops and my mom. They definitely deserve that. They’ll be here tomorrow and I’ll give it to them. Hopefully they’ll get to see another one.”