Anthony Garcia, wearing the custom jersey that Gabe Kapler presented him a few minutes earlier, waited Saturday afternoon just outside the Phillies dugout hoping to meet Carlos Santana.
The 13-year-old baseball fanatic from Harrisburg said he favored Santana for his humble attitude. Kapler made sure Garcia’s custom-jersey with “Anthony” arched across the back also had Santana’s No. 41. It had been five months since Garcia’s leukemia was diagnosed, causing the teenager to miss his baseball season.
And then came Santana, who walked over from the batting cage to present Garcia with a bat and ball and pose for pictures. That would be enough for Garcia, who arrived at Citizens Bank Park after Go4TheGoal, a childhood cancer foundation based in Cherry Hill, reached out to Kapler. But Santana had something else.
“I promise to get a home run for you today,” Santana said.
Santana said he doesn’t often promise home runs, but he “was feeling something.” Santana returned to batting practice and Garcia and his family found their seats behind home plate, in Section 121.
Then Santana delivered. He homered in the fifth inning of the 8-3 win over the Marlins. He watched the ball land in the second deck of right field and thought back to his promise.
“I remembered, and I said, ‘Thank you, God,’ for letting me do that,” Santana said. “Everything I do, I do from my heart.”
The home run was the third the Phillies would hit as they routed the Marlins. Garcia had a perfect night. And Santana’s fulfilled promise was a moment to cherish.
“We got chills,” said his mother, Yisel Ramos-Marucci . “He almost cried. He had always dreamt about this day and it finally happened.”
Santana walked twice Sunday and now has the most walks (84) by a Phillies player since 2009, when Jayson Werth had 91 and Chase Utley had 88. … Aaron Nola’s sixth-inning strikeout was the 1,000th by a Phillies pitcher this season. They reached the mark in 111 games, which is the fastest rate in franchise history. … Jake Arrieta will start Monday in Arizona against righthander Zack Godley.