San Diego Padres

Manny Machado has a memorable homecoming to Camden Yards

Manny Machado hit his 100th career home run on Camden Yards on Tuesday night, but this one was as a member of the San Diego Padres in his first game back in Baltimore.

The stadium may have been familiar, but nothing about Manny Machado’s night at Camden Yards in Baltimore looked normal.

For one, the four-time All-Star third baseman was wearing a different uniform than Orioles orange and white. Machado was playing his first game back in Baltimore on Tuesday since being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers last July. He then signed a 10-year, $300 million contract with the San Diego Padres in February.

Everything about his first game back should have felt normal for Machado because he had done it so many times, but yet it was completely different.

“I’m never nervous. But I guess today I was just a weird nervous, in a way,” he told after the game, an 8-3 Padres win. “It’s just different. It was always coming to that same clubhouse, walking through that same door, parking in the same parking spot, taking the same route to the baseball field. It was just all different today.”

The fans at Camden Yards greeted Machado to a rousing ovation when he first came to the plate. Leading off the top of the third inning, he hit the first pitch from Orioles starter Jimmy Yacabonis to  the bullpens in left-center field for a 455-foot home run. He added an RBI single in the fourth, driving in Fernando Tatis Jr., and finished the game 2-4 with two RBI, a walk and a strikeout.

The warm welcome he received was well deserved. When Machado first made his debut for the Orioles as a 20-year-old in 2012, the franchise hadn’t made the postseason in 15 years. With him in the lineup, they went on to make the playoffs three times in the next five seasons. In 860 games in an Orioles uniform, Machado hit 162 home runs and batted .283. His home run on Tuesday was his 100th at Camden Yards, and the third-longest he’s ever hit there. For Machado, it was a special memory to come back to the place that he first called home

“It was definitely a great experience,” he said. “It was bittersweet coming back home. This is where I was for seven years, enjoyed my time here.”

Machado is in his first year with the Padres and took some time to get acclimated to playing in Southern California. But in his last 11 games, he’s hitting .480 with seven home runs and a 1.529 OPS. For the season he’s batting .281 with 17 home runs. The Padres, though, are still a game under .500 after the win on Tuesday and are 14.5 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West.

Next: Yankees face nervous wait on Giancarlo Stanton

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