Friday night was, in a large sense, a bad one for the Baltimore Orioles. They lost 7-1 in ugly fashion to the Tampa Bay Rays, with the Orioles lead in the AL East now just mere percentage points, with a .619 winning percentage to Tampa Bay's .617 mark.
But, for Orioles outfielder Heston Kjerstad, it wasn't all bad. Making his first start since being called up on Thursday, Kjerstad recorded his first major league hit in a big way, hitting a solo home run off Rays starter Zach Eflin and going 1-2 before getting replaced by Austin Hays.
Kjerstad's home run served as more than a first career hit. He accomplished a few rarely seen feats by doing so. He broke up a no-hit bid by Eflin by hitting the home run, and it served as his first major league hit.
Heston Kjerstad's home run gave him a unique spot in baseball history
We'll start in Orioles history with Kjerstad. He became the 11th player in Orioles history to hit a home run for a first career major league hit. Gunnar Henderson was the most recent player to do so, accomplishing the feat on August 31, 2022.
The other Orioles players to hit a home run as their first major league hit are Trey Mancini, Nick Markakis, Ed Rogers, Jose Morban, Calvin Pickering, Craig Worthington, Dan Graham, Larry Haney, and Buster Narum, according to MASN's Roch Kubatko.
Among the 10 Orioles to do with Kjerstad did previously, 5 of them came after 2000, starting from Morban all the way to Henderson last year and Kjerstad on Friday. The 5 prior to 2000 came within a 35-year span, with Narum being the first in 1963 and Pickering being the fifth in 1998.
Breaking up a no-hit bid with a first career hit is also a rather unique feat. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Kjerstad became the first player to break up a no-hitter with their first career hit since Touki Toussaint in 2018 against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Toussaint is a pitcher.
The last hitter to break up a no-hitter with their first big league hit also serving as a home run? That would be Taylor Teagarden, who is also a former Oriole. Teagarden accomplished the feat in 2008 while with the Texas Rangers, hitting a home run for his first big league hit to break up a no-hit bid by Scott Baker of the Minnesota Twins.
The Orioles are hoping this unique moment for Kjerstad serves as the first of many home runs to come from the outfielder. Between Double A Bowie and Triple A Norfolk this season, Kjerstad clubbed 21 home runs, and he has 26 in the minors over two years.