By Joel Alderman
The surprising Jesse Hahn saw his winning streak snapped at seven last night (Aug. 5th) because of one mistake. The San Diego Padres rookie from Groton and Fitch High School was hurling a two-hitter, rolling along with five shutout innings and a 1-0 lead against the Minnesota Twins in an interleague game at Target Field in Minneapolis.
But another rookie with a Connecticut connection, Kennys Vargas, lined a home run with two on and two out, which held up for a 3-1 Twins win.
In the first inning Hahn had fooled Vargas with his best pitch, a curveball, so he decided to throw him another one in the sixth. If I see someone can’t hit it, then yeah, why not?” Hahn said. “I think it was the right pitch in that situation. I just don’t think it was executed. It was up in the zone.”
Until he was called up to the parent club less than a week ago, he was the leading hitter for the New Britain Rock Cats in the Double-A Eastern League.
The Padres’ manager, Bud Black, added that “this is a game (Hahn) will remember. That one pitch really came back to haunt him.”
Nevertheless, Jesse would have had to go some to get his eighth straight win. His team was 0-4 with runners in scoring position, and only scored one run on a homer among its 12 hits. The Padres also left 11 runners stranded.
“It was a good outing overall,” Hahn felt. “As a team, we played a great game. There was great defense behind me. I think if I would’ve executed that pitch that inning, it’d be a different ballgame.”
Despite the loss, Black continues to heap praise on Hahn, while his high school teammate, Matt Harvey, is now throwing off a mound while getting ready to rejoin the New York Mets after a long rehab from Tommy John surgery.
Jesse has done “great work for a rookie pitcher that, coming into spring training, wasn’t as high on the radar as other players,” Black said. “So it’s a tribute to Jesse that he’s broken through when given the opportunity, grabbed it by the neck and has run with it. It’s great to see.”
In summation, the manager said “they had one big swing, and that was the difference in the game. And that happens.”
Yes, it finally has happened to Jesse Hahn, who lamented “that was just a bad pitch. I wish I had it back.”
He should have many more opportunities not to make the same mistake twice.