HOUSTON -- Astros pitcher Gustavo Chacin has given up 45 homers in his career, but he got to enjoy the feeling of touching them all himself on Monday afternoon.
Chacin socked a 1-1 pitch from Washington pitcher Luis Atilano down the right-field line and just over the wall for his first career home run in the bottom of the third. It was the first Major League hit for Chacin, but what made it even more shocking is that it came in his first at-bat in nearly five years.
"For sure, it surprised me," said Chacin, who hadn't stepped to the plate in a Major League game since June 26, 2006. "Like I said, I tried to get on base in that situation. That's all that was on my mind right there."
Chacin, who spent four seasons with the Blue Jays before being signed by the Astros to a Minor League contract prior to this year, was 0-for-7 at the plate in his career. He's the first Houston pitcher to hit a homer for his first Major League hit since Butch Henry (off Doug Drabek) in 1992.
He's the first Astros pitcher to hit a home run since Mike Hampton on July 24, 2009, and he's the fifth Houston relief pitcher to homer. Russ Ortiz (May 19, 2009) was the last Astros relief pitcher to hit a home run.
"He's got more home runs than me and [Jeff] Keppinger put together already in one swing of the bat," said center fielder Michael Bourn, who got his first triple of the season on Monday.
Chacin tossed 2 2/3 innings in relief of Roy Oswalt, who was thrown out of the game in the third inning. The fact the Astros lost, 14-4, outweighed any personal satisfaction Chacin got from hitting a home run.
"My job is pitching, not hitting," he said. "But it's nice to hit the home run. It's real nice."
Chacin said he didn't retrieve the ball.