WASHINGTON, D.C.: “So, I got a call from Randy Knorr,” Andrew Stevenson told reporters after homering for the first time in the majors as part of a five-run sixth inning that put the Washington Nationals up 6-4 in what ended up a 10-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday night.
Stevenson was in Syracuse, NY when Knorr, the Triple-A Chiefs’ manager, called and told him to get over to NBT Bank Stadium as soon as possible.
“He said, ‘Hey can you get to the fiel —’ this is about like probably 1:30 [PM], 1:45, ‘Hey, can you get to the field as soon as possible?’ I was like, ‘Alright.’
“So ... get to the field, he tells me about 2:30, ‘Hey, they need you in D.C.,’ and I was like, ‘Alright,’ expecting like, ‘Here’s your plane.’ He said, ‘No.’”
“I just heard this story,” Anthony Rendon chimed in from the locker next to Stevenson’s.
“He said, ‘We’re going to need you to drive. We can’t get a flight right now.’
“So me and [Adrian] Sanchez,” who was called up as well after the Nationals traded both Daniel Murphy and Matt Adams, “we drove separate, but we drove,” Stevenson said.
“We took off probably around 3:00 and they said, ‘Get there as soon as you can,”’ Stevenson continued.
“I know you’re going to be late but they might need you the second half of the game, and ended up making it, so it turned out pretty good.”
Stevenson was up in the majors earlier this season, putting up a .255/.315/.298 line with two doubles in 55 plate appearances, but he was optioned to the Nats’ top minor league affiliate in late May, and stayed in Syracuse until last night, posting a .235/.318/.338 line, 10 doubles, and six home runs in 77 games and 331 PAs.
In his first at bat back with the Nationals, he sent an 0-1 slider from Victor Arano out to left-center field in Nationals Park to finally connect for his first big league home run.
“That was pretty nice,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez said after the win when asked about Stevenson’s two-run blast.
A 1-hour, 42-minute rain delay actually allowed Stevenson to arrive in time to suit up and contribute.
“He got in during the rain delay and came to my office,” Martinez said, “and I told him, ‘Hey, congratulations, happy to have you, get your uniform on and get loose, you might be in this ballgame,’ so big hit, really big hit. So very proud of him too. He drove through the rain, through everything to get here, stepped up and got us a big hit.”
Did Stevenson, who was surely obeying posted speed limits, drive through any speed traps as he tried to get down in time to contribute?
“I was using the ‘Waze’ app,” he said with a laugh, “so they normally tell you what’s coming ahead, so luckily I made it here safely though.”
He made it safely in spite of the rain, which was heavy at times and persistent throughout the trip.
“It was raining the whole time,” Stevenson said. “Probably at least four hours of the six hours it was raining.”
To be able to make it, however, and then come through with a big hit, which tied it up at 4-4 before the Nationals took the lead?
“To be able to help the team win that’s kind of the biggest thing,” Stevenson said.
“Whether it’s coming off the bench or being a glove out there, it’s any way I can help, and it’s just great to get the opportunity.”
He got the home run ball back too. So what’s he going to do with it?
“Probably just give it to my parents for a little bit, let them hold on to it until I kind of get an established place to live. I’m kind of moving place to place.”