“It was a great relief,” Pena said. “I’m just happy to get the first one out of the way. Most importantly, it tied the ballgame there.”
Pena’s home run off Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley tied Tuesday night’s game 1-1 in the seventh inning.
The 33-year-old veteran had been getting close, getting robbed of what would have been a game-changing ninth-inning home run by Justin Upton of the Diamondbacks on Sunday.
“I appreciate [people] noticing,” Pena said. “Sometimes you feel you’re all alone out there. But my teammates have been right behind me, always cheering me on, always supporting me.”
On Monday, Pena just missed two home runs with drives that were caught on the warning track. Dodger Stadium is known for its cavernous dimensions, especially at night when home runs are hard to come by.
“If you go down the line, it appears to be your best chance,” said Cubs manager Mike Quade. “He is some kind of strong son of a gun. He can leave anywhere. To me it was a no-doubter when it hit the bat and here, that’s really something.”
The two rehabbing Cubs starters, who have been on the disabled list since April 8, had their first sessions on Monday. Both pitchers told ESPNChicago.com that they felt no pain on Tuesday.
Cubs general manager Jim Hendry indicated that one or both of them could soon go out on rehab assignments if they have no setbacks.
Castro’s close up: Young Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro, the cover boy for this week’s “Sports Illustrated” was not only unaware of any “SI jinx”, but said he had never even heard of the famous magazine.
Castro is the first Cub to be featured on the cover since Aramis Ramirez appeared on Sept. 29, 2008 prior to the Cubs’ ill-fated playoff series with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where they were swept in three games.
Castro’s 40 hits in April tied Alex Rodriguez's major league mark for the most hits by a player 21 or younger in the first month of the season. However, after going 0-for-4 on Tuesday, he is 0-for-12 against the Dodgers and 4-for-24 on the road trip.