Trotting toward second base after a game-tying home run Tuesday night, Orioles infielder Hanser Alberto paused and returned to first, emphatically popping off the bag to continue his 360-foot journey as his teammates chuckled from the dugout.
The second-inning solo shot ended up providing the only run in the Orioles’ 8-1 loss to the Washington Nationals, but Alberto’s return to the bag provided a moment of levity, of which he has provided many throughout the best season of his career.
“I don’t think I missed, ’cause I feel I touched it, but you just want to be sure,” Alberto said. “You don’t want to lose the home run because of the replay or whatever. I just wanted to be 100% sure that I touched it.”
If it’s the last impression Alberto leaves on his teammates for a couple of days, it was a good one. Alberto and his wife, Olga, are due to have their second daughter, who they’ve planned to name Hanna, Wednesday morning. It’s likely Alberto will miss at least the finale of the two-game series.
“He’s ready to hit,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “The time he gets in the box, he’s ready to hit. He might chase a little bit and he might be overaggressive and he’s not gonna walk much, but he’s on time with the fastball, and he’s ready to hit, and he gives himself a chance because he’s on time and he’s ready. That’s what I see, is a guy that just really competes in the box.”
Alberto ended Tuesday’s game 2-for-4, getting robbed of another hit for the game’s final out. His .306 average ranks among the best in the American League, despite being a player who was put on waivers by four different organizations this offseason, including the Orioles.
He’s since gotten the opportunity to be a regular piece in Hyde’s lineup, and more often than not, he’s capitalized on it.
“It’s been a really blessed season for me so far,” Alberto said.
And like any good father would do, he’s provided laughs along the way. His return to first certainly brought his teammates joy.