It had been 1,348 at-bats and over three years since Jamey Carroll last homered. Sunday the streak ended.
By TYLER MASONFS North
The last time Jamey Carroll homered, he was wearing a Cleveland Indians uniform — in 2009. Since then, he played two homerless seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers and was without a home run through 120 games (411 at-bats) with the Minnesota Twins this season.
On Monday, Carroll's homerless drought ended.
On a 2-2 count from White Sox starter Hector Santiago, Carroll connected on a 95 mph pitch and homered into the Chicago bullpen in left-center field. It was his first home run since Aug. 9, 2009 — a span of 1,348 at-bats.
"First and foremost, I'm excited to go out there and see my son," Carroll said after Minnesota's 4-2 loss on the road, which his family was able to attend. "He's been known to let people know, even though he's only four, that I don't have enough energy or I'm not strong enough to hit homers. . . . You just try to help the team win. It's exciting. We all had fun with it in here. But at the same time, we like to go home with the ‘W,’ of course."
The 1,348 at-bats between home runs was the longest active homerless streak in all of baseball. Now that Carroll has snapped his homerless drought, the longest in baseball is Kansas City's Chris Getz with 918 at-bats; he hasn't cleared the fence since July 7, 2009. Minnesota outfielder Ben Revere is second on the homerless list — he has yet to homer since making his major league debut on Sep. 7, 2010, a stretch of 884 at-bats after Monday's game.
Carroll's solo homer Monday also came in the same ballpark in which he hit his last home run back in 2009. In that game with Cleveland, Carroll went deep off Scott Linebrink in the top of the seventh inning for a solo shot. And it was in Chicago that Carroll made his MLB debut back on Sept. 11, 2002 with the Montreal Expos against the Cubs.
"It's a proud moment in my family," Carroll said. "It's fun that my brothers and my dad got to be here, and my wife and my kids. And it happened in Chicago, where my first game was. It was a special day."
Carroll's homer Monday landed in the White Sox bullpen, and Twins left fielder Darin Mastroianni ran over to the bullpen to retrieve the milestone baseball at the end of the fifth inning. Carroll was also greeted by plenty of high-fives and smiles in the Minnesota dugout.
While the homer came in a Twins loss, it still capped a special night for Carroll. His 13th career homer Monday came on the same day in which he reached 10 years of major league service time.
"Ten years in the big leagues is special," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Carroll. "He's a game-on type player. He plays hard all the time, so it was really fun in the dugout when he hit that homer."
Of the 13 homers Carroll has hit in his 10-year career, only two have come with runners on base. He has hit one grand slam in his career, back in 2007 with Colorado against the Chicago Cubs.
Entering Monday's game, Carroll was batting .255 with a .336 on-base percentage and a slugging percentage of .297. The 38-year-old Carroll signed a two-year contract with the Twins this past winter. Minnesota is the sixth team of his career — he spent three years with the Montreal Expos, one with the Washington Nationals, two with Colorado, two with the Indians and the two with Los Angeles Dodgers before joining the Twins this year.
After Carroll's homer Monday, the Twins couldn't muster much else on offense. Minnesota scored one more run in the eighth inning but couldn't overcome an early deficit.
Still, it was a day to remember for Carroll.
"It's not fun to lose, and I'm sure I'll go home with the loss," Carroll said. "But in time, I'll be able to look back and understand and appreciate what this day is all about."