Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Zach McKinstry recorded his first career home run as well as the Dodgers' first home run and the first inside-the-park home run of Major League Baseball's 2021 regular season Saturday night against the Colorado Rockies.
McKinstry's home run, of the solo variety, put the Dodgers ahead by a 5-4 margin in the top of the eighth inning (box score). He was inserted into the game as a pinch-hitter for starting pitcher Walker Buehler, who, in his season debut, allowed two runs on four hits and struck out four in six innings of work.
McKinstry, a rookie, entered the night with eight career big-league at-bats. In this instance, he went with a 94 mph fastball away from reliever Mychal Givens. Left fielder Raimel Tapia attempted to bring the ball back from over the wall, and appeared to have it in his glove. Unfortunately for Tapia, not only was he unable to complete the catch, he appeared shaken up after colliding with the wall. Tapia stayed down for several seconds before fetching the ball and returning it to the infield, but not before McKinstry scored.
Tapia, who had a similar close call with a home-run robbery attempt in the season opener, then departed the game under his own power, exiting through the outfield alongside a trainer. (The Rockies also saw right-handed starter Jon Gray depart Saturday's game due to injury. The club described Gray's ailment as "full body cramps." His availability for his next start is uncertain at this point.)
McKinstry is considered to be an above-average runner. Originally a 33rd-round pick from Central Michigan University, he has forced his way to the majors thanks to solid production throughout the minors (career .270/.357/.416 line) and defensive versatility. During the 2019 minor-league season, McKinstry saw action at five positions for Triple-A Oklahoma City, including second and third base, shortstop and center field.