MILWAUKEE -- As Erik Komatsu was wrapping up a series of postgame interviews with the media, manager Mike Matheny exited his office, lineup card in hand, and slowly made his way to the opposite end of the visitors' clubhouse. There, Matheny delivered Komatsu the keepsake.
Komatsu left Miller Park on Friday with both the lineup card, which he had his teammates sign, and the memory of his first Major League hit. He hoped to find the ball, too, though he had yet to track that down in the minutes after the Cardinals' 11-5 win over Milwaukee.
Pinch-hitting for Carlos Beltran with one out in the ninth, Komatsu hit an 0-1 changeup up the middle. Second baseman Rickie Weeks gave chase, but the ball was far enough to his right that Komatsu was able to beat out the throw for an infield single.
"That hit was earned," Komatsu joked afterward before adopting a more serious tone. "It was a special moment. My heart was racing as I walked up to the plate. It was special."
It was made even more special by the fact that it came with five family members, including his parents, in attendance and against the team that once traded him away. Drafted by the Brewers in the eighth round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, Komatsu was traded by Milwaukee last July to Washington for Jerry Hairston Jr. He was then plucked by the Cardinals in the December Rule 5 Draft and placed on the Opening Day roster for the first time in his career this spring.