Living a dream: Tomlinson's 1st homer grand
Giants rookie emotional after receiving rousing ovation following slam
SAN FRANCISCO -- Growing up in Chickasha, Okla., Giants rookie Kelby Tomlinson always dreamed of hitting a home run in the Major Leagues. On Thursday afternoon at AT&T Park, his wish finally came true.
Tomlinson connected for his first career home run, and it was a grand slam off reliever James Russell in the eighth inning that put an exclamation point on San Francisco's 9-1 win over the Chicago Cubs.
"It was pretty crazy," Tomlinson said. "When you play in the yard, you don't just dream of hitting a base hit. You dream of it being a home run -- a grand slam -- so it was kind of surreal when you actually do it."
As Tomlinson trotted out to second base to warm up for the next inning, the 41,847 fans at the park stood in applause. He tried to hold back a smile, but he just couldn't do it.
"I've never experienced anything like that, and it was something special," Tomlinson said. "Usually, during the game, I'm pretty locked in and don't smile too much, but I don't think I could get a smile off my face during that."
Joe Maddon elected to intentionally walk Marlon Byrd with runners on second and third and no outs to get to the rookie, a move that backfired on the Cubs' skipper.
Russell threw Tomlinson a curveball on the first pitch of the at-bat, on which the rookie went too far on a check swing. The 25-year-old fouled off two fastballs to extend the battle, so he figured the left-hander would come back with another curve.
"He threw [the curveball] to me earlier in the at-bat on the first pitch, and he fooled me on it, so I had a feeling he might come back to it at some point," Tomlinson said. "That was the pitch I got."
Giants third baseman Matt Duffy, a good friend and Minor League teammate of Tomlinson's, couldn't hold back his emotions when describing the moment.
"I was so happy for him," Duffy said. "The standing ovation gave me freaking chills. He's just such a good kid. For him to do that was pretty sweet."
Tomlinson became the first Giants player since Brandon Crawford in 2011, to hit a grand slam for his first big league home run.
"People sometimes outside the baseball world don't know how big a moment this is," manager Bruce Bochy said. "For Kelby, it's a memory he'll never forget."