For Baltimore native Steve Johnson, it’s been quite an afternoon. He got to play for his hometown team on the field at Camden Yards for the first time. He pitched two innings against the Tigers and gave up a Miguel Cabrera homer in his major league debut.
But Johnson left to the cheers of the crowd after the top of the eighth. He walked the first two batters, but later fanned two to strand a pair in scoring position as the Camden Yards fans cheered him on.
“Just walking off the field in the eighth inning, getting the strikeout and getting out of that jam, having the fans get behind me, that was a pretty special moment. That is something I’ll take with me,” Johnson said.
Sunday night, Johnson posted this message on his Twitter page:
Oriole fans...you guys are awesome. Thanks for making a special moment even better. That ovation was unbelievable. I’ll remember it forever
He got to pitch for the same major league team as his dad, Dave Johnson.
“It’s definitely pretty special. I wasn’t here, that was at Memorial Stadium (when Dave pitched for the Orioles). I don’t remember seeing him play too much, just parts here and there. But to be on the same team as him is pretty cool. I went out on the field before the game today and was just able to enjoy it a little bit,” he said.
Before he met with reporters after today’s game, he had a chance to see his dad and family.
“He said congrats. Probably will be a little hugging a little later, but he just shook my hand and said you pitched well,” Johnson said.
Johnson talked about walking the first two big league hitters he faced.
“When they said I was finally in the game, my heart started pounding. It was just nice to be out there and have the fans get behind me that inning,” he said.
“I was just trying to get myself to bear down. Just lost the feel of the fastball a little bit. Outside of that, I was able to shut it down a little bit.
“It was a changeup (that Cabrera hit for the homer). It was a long battle. I got ahead of him and I thought I could get him to swing over top a changeup. But he stayed on it and he got it. He’s pretty good.”
A good day for Johnson ended with the news he is being optioned back to Triple-A Norfolk. He had to expect that might happen, but now he heads back with the memory of pitching for his hometown team and leaving the mound to a huge Camden Yards ovation.