HOUSTON — Houston’s Jon Singleton accompanied his family, including six-year-old daughter Maisyn, to a post-game fireworks display Friday night after hitting his first home runs in the majors since 2015.
His little daughter loved his big game, but for her the best part of the evening was watching the fireworks with dad.
“Baseball is kind of an afterthought,” Singleton said. “But she loves fireworks.”
Leading up to that performance, Singleton caused quite a stir with his first multihomer game and an 11-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels with five RBIs, the highest of his career.
Singleton hit his first two batters in his first game at Minute Maid Park since 2015 after his contract was picked by Triple-A Sugar Land on Tuesday.
Having played baseball from 2017 to 2021 before restarting his career in the Mexican league, Friday was an evening that once seemed like a distant dream.
“There was that moment where I wouldn’t say I didn’t imagine it, but it wasn’t even a thought in my head,” he said. “But as life progressed, things changed and I definitely had thoughts that this could be my life again.”
He fired a high-flying three-run shot down the second deck in right field in front of Reid Detmers and gave Houston a 3-1 lead in the second inning. He then spun his racquet slightly and stood on home plate for a few seconds to admire his work.
In the third round there was an on and an out when he hit Detmers again to make it 7:3 and ended the left-hander’s evening. This time he underscored the shot with an epic batflip before rounding the bases.
When asked if he knew the homers were out the first time, Singleton chuckled.
“Yes,” he said. “Without doubt.”
“I didn’t know you should focus on that — that’s starting,” he said. “But it feels great. I won more than half. So on the way.”
Singleton’s home runs were his first in the majors since he scored for the Astros in the Angels’ 6-3 win on July 29, 2015. That’s the longest interval between home runs by a position player in the majors since Rafael Belliard was ten years old, and 144 days between the only two home runs of his career — for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1987 and for the Braves in 1997. And it’s this longest home run by a player since pitcher Jake Peavy spent nine years and 52 days between 2006 and 2015.
It was also the longest home run drought in major league history to be overcome with a multi-homer game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
“Eight years between home runs, that’s a long time,” said Astros manager Dusty Baker. “It’s a great story and the fact that it happened here and he helped us win a ball game with a couple of home runs, another hit and five RBI, that was a great night.”
It has been a winding road for Singleton to return to the Astros. The 31-year-old played 114 games for the Astros in 2014 and 2015 after signing a five-year, $10 million contract. He last appeared in a major league game for the Astros on October 2, 2015.
Singleton returned to the majors for the Milwaukee Brewers earlier this season and played 11 games before being fired. Even then, he never thought he would ever end up with the Astros again.
“With the Astros, no, definitely not,” he said. “But I’m just grateful and thankful to be here.”
Singleton was in the Astros’ organization until before the 2018 season, when he requested his release after being suspended for a 100-game game at Double-A Corpus Christi for a third positive drug test.
His home runs on Friday were his first wins with the Astros this season. In his first two games, he had won 0-4 with two walks.
Singleton walked in Houston’s fourth three-run and hit a singleton in the eighth single to set a career-high three-hit.
Justin Verlander (7-6), making his second start for the Astros since joining from the New York Mets — and first at home — allowed six hits and three runs in an evening with seven strikeouts in six innings for the win became the 50th player in major league history to start 500 games. Along with Zack Greinke (536), he is the only active pitcher to have reached the mark.
Friday was his 251st career win.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.