PHILADELPHIA –– Joe Blanton doesn't remember the scouting report. Back on June 12, 2010, the Phillies pitcher entered his interleague start against the Red Sox not knowing much about then-rookie Daniel Nava.
Little did Blanton know, their names would be linked together forever.
In the second inning of that game, Nava started the first chapter of his fairytale story by slugging the first pitch of his first career at-bat out of the park for a grand slam.
Nearly two years later, the duo will be reunited when Blanton takes the mound for Philadelphia on Saturday. While Blanton doesn't dwell on the results of Nava's memorable at-bat, he regrets putting himself in the bases-loaded situation.
"That's a tough situation," Blanton said. "You never want to have the bases loaded. You're stuck in a situation where, with a younger guy, he's going to want to swing the bat, especially in that situation, being at home. I don't remember how I got into it, honestly.
"I don't remember if I walked one or two guys or if I gave up three hits. I'm trying to get ahead because I don't want to fall behind and make it even worse. It just makes it a tough situation for a pitcher right there."
Upon belting Blanton's fastball into the seats, Nava became only the second player in Major League history to club a grand slam on the first pitch he saw in the majors.
Two innings after the sequence, Blanton received the quick hook. It was one of the right-hander's worst starts of the 2010 season, considering he surrendered 13 hits, nine runs and two homers in the 10-2 loss.
"I basically got my ass kicked that day," Blanton said. "I gave up a lot of runs, it was a short outing. As a pitcher, you kind of remember that. When you're out there pitching it doesn't matter if it's a guy that has 500 homers and hits a grand slam or it's a guy's first homer, when you give up four runs, it's never good."
These days, however, Blanton takes his historical connection to Nava in playful stride. Although he'll forever be the answer to a trivia question in Boston, the pitcher appreciates Nava's feat.
"I'm sure it was a thrill," Blanton said. "I'm sure it was great for him. It is what it is. It's baseball. You said it's happened before? It's happened to someone else. I'm not the only one."
Blanton will have a chance at revenge on Saturday.
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