"I don't know of a ballpark in America that would have held the one he hit tonight," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said after Damon unloaded a mammoth homer during the fifth inning of a 4-4 tie against the Atlanta Braves on Friday. The game was called after 10 innings.
Damon pulled a 1-0 pitch from Braves starter Kenshin Kawakami and almost hit the back wall behind right field, well over 400 feet away. The left fielder, who matched his career high with 24 homers last season with the Yankees, also had a single and is hitting .333 this spring.
"Johnny Damon can plain out hit and it doesn't matter where it is," Braves third baseman Chipper Jones said. "He has a lot of baseball left and he's hungry."
The 36-year-old Damon is 10 for 30 with two doubles, two homers and five RBI for his new team.
Kawakami also allowed a long homer by Jeff Larish in the fourth inning, but the only other run against him was unearned. The right-hander from Japan gave up six hits, struck out four and walked none.
"He pitched a good five innings," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "He threw some good sinkers."
Detroit pitcher Jeremy Bonderman gave up RBI doubles to Jones and Brian McCann in the first but worked out of jams in each of the next two innings thanks to double plays.
Jones was 2 for 2 with a walk, raising his average to .391, while McCann went 2 for 5 and is hitting .478.
The Braves tied the game in the ninth inning on a single by Gregor Blanco, who was 2 for 2.