Nationals

Ex-National Michael A. Taylor homers in first game as a Royal

Nationals

In an Opening Day battle between the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals, former Washington National Michael A. Taylor started his season off with a bang. With his Royals squad down 8-5 in just the third inning, Taylor drove a fastball from Rangers lefty Taylor Hearn 402 feet into right field, bringing the game to an 8-6 score.

Before the homer, Taylor knocked in an RBI single in the first inning to put the Royals up 5-4, but he wasn't done. He also hit an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth inning to put Kansas City up 9-8, bringing his RBI total in the game to three before even the midway point. The game between the Rangers and Royals was also historically significant, as it was the first time an Opening Day game showed a score of 5-5 after just the first inning.

On the defensive end, Taylor had himself quite the day as well. He posted two outfield assists within the first three innings of the contest. When all said and done, Taylor arguably had the best 2021 Opening Day in the majors. The Royals would end up beating the Rangers in a barnburner, 14-10 the final. At game's end, Taylor finished with one run, three hits and a team-leading three RBIs in five at-bats. 

Taylor signed a one-year, $1.75-million deal with Kansas City in November after spending seven seasons in the nation’s capital. Washington drafted Taylor in the sixth round of the 2009 MLB Draft, and he made his debut as a National in 2014. A vacuum in center field during his time as a Nat, Taylor made his presence felt throughout his tenure, appearing in 574 games for Washington.

 

Perhaps his most famous moment came during the Nationals’ 2019 World Series run, when Taylor made a miraculous diving catch in the 10th inning of the NLDS against the Dodgers to end the series. His grab sealed the 7-3 victory for the Nationals and sent them to the NL Championship Series for the first time in team history.