Milone gets no decision in debut, but certainly left lasting impression with his bat

Even though left-hander Tommy Milone did not get the victory or the loss Saturday, he certainly left his mark in his major league debut with the Washington Nationals.

Milone lasted 4 1/3 innings on the mound and gave up four runs, setting down the first seven hitters he faced and striking out two.

But the most dramatic moment for Milone came in the bottom of the second inning when he launched a three-run homer off of Mets starter Dillon Gee that easily cleared the right field wall and dropped into the Nationals bullpen for a 5-0 lead.

It appeared from his easy swing that Milone was a good hitter. He had hit well for Triple-A Syracuse this season, batting .346 in 14 games with nine base hits. He certainly showed with his first ever big league swing that he knows what he is doing in the batter’s box.

“I take a lot of pride in (hitting),” Milone said. “I used to hit in high school. I love hitting. It is fun. In my off time, I go in the cage and I can hit. I think it is something fun other than pitching.”

“In Triple-A, I feel like they are just pitchers and they throw just fastballs. I would go up and hack at the first pitch or second pitch. But today, it was just surreal. I went up there hoping for a fastball first pitch, I got it and I hit it over the fence.”

Milone said it was a bizarre feeling as he started to run towards first and watched the ball go out.

“When I was running down the first base line it was almost like I was dreaming,” Milone said. “Almost like I didn’t feel it come off the bat, it felt that good. I wasn’t really sure it was a home run yet. Once it kept traveling in the air and I was running down the line, I kind of knew it. It was definitely a good feeling.”

As for the job he was called up to do, pitching, Milone said he “felt good” about his first start.

“I felt like I made some good pitches in the (last) inning, but these are good hitters,” Milone said. “Sometimes that is going to happen. You got to go out there and you got to battle and make better pitches to get these guys out. I felt like overall I did a good job.”

It was a night of a lot of “firsts” for Milone, including a curtain call from the 34,821 at Nationals Park.

“The crowd was into it,” Milone said. “At minor league games, there is not very (many) people that go to those games, so to have a crowd like that that is pulling for you and after you doing something good they want you to come out and show yourself again. That was definitely a great feeling.”

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