MILWAUKEE -- When Brooks Kieschnick stepped to the plate for the Brewers in 2003, you could see it coming. He was a first-round Draft pick who played nine professional seasons as a power-hitting outfielder before converting to pitching and making it to Milwaukee as a two-way threat.
So when Kieschnick hit a trio of home runs as a relief pitcher in '03, it made sense. As Tyler Cravy stepped to the plate on Saturday, it was not so obvious that a baseball was about to clear the fence.
"It was really cool," Cravy said. "I was a little surprised by it."
Cravy's first Major League hit was a 409-foot home run, a solo shot off Pirates left-hander Jeff Locke that tied a wild ballgame in the fourth inning of what would become a 9-6 loss to the Pirates at Miller Park. The baseball left Cravy's bat at 100.4 mph, according to Statcast™, and when it found the seats he became the first Brewers reliever to hit a home run since Kieschnick at San Francisco on Sept. 12, 2003.
There have been just six home runs in Brewers history off the bat of a relief pitcher: Cravy's on Saturday, Kieschnick's trio in 2003, Bronswell Patrick's in 1998 and Bill Parsons' in 1971. No Brewers pitchers regularly batted from 1973-96 because the team played in the American League in the designated hitter era, pre-Interleague Play.
Cravy joined Jeff D'Amico (July 30, 2000) as the only pitchers in Brewers history to homer for his first Major League hit. "I was definitely surprised I hit it that well," Cravy said. "I think I already had my mind made up that I was going to swing first pitch, so I was pretty lucky that it was a fastball in that location."
Cravy entered the night with one home run in 60 professional plate appearances. It came in 2015 for Triple-A Colorado Springs at Memphis. In the Majors, he was hitless in 13 plate appearances.
His celebration was short-lived on Saturday. Cravy's home run tied the back-and-forth game at 6-6, and moments later, he was back on the mound to pitch.
"I had to sit down and try and forget that it happened," Cravy said. "I told myself I still had to go out and pitch."
The Pirates pushed back ahead in the sixth on Gregory Polanco's three-run double. It provided the decisive margin in the Brewers' third consecutive loss.
"Maybe tomorrow I can enjoy it," Cravy said.
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.