Caleb Hamilton has been focused on the cool part, the fact that he's in the major leagues and has been for a month now. He's been trying not to think about the .000 that pops up on the scoreboard every time he gets an infrequent chance to bat.
But it's gone now.
"I told myself I wasn't going to press at all, and [two walks] shows I've been controlling the strike zone a little bit, which is something I'm comfortable doing. But I just wasn't putting the ball where the defenders weren't," said Hamilton, a 27-year-old former infielder-turned-catcher. "So this was definitely a relief."
More than a relief — a once-in-a-lifetime moment. Hamilton faced Angels lefty Jose Quijada, who had faced four batters and struck out each one. But when Quijada left a first-pitch fastball in the middle of the zone, Hamilton struck. It landed 387 feet away in the left-field bleachers.
"It was an amazing feeling. I knew that I hit it well. But I kind of lost it when I looked up because I looked straight into the lights," he said. "But I just looked at the left fielder, and he started turning around and jogging. I was like, 'Oh my gosh, I think I just hit that out.' It was a pretty incredible feeling."
It ended an 0-for-12 drought, the longest ever to open a career by a Twins player, surpassing pitcher Bill Zepp's 0-for-11 in 1970.
His teammates, clearly rooting for him to break the drought, celebrated with him in the dugout. His manager enjoyed it, too.
"It was sweet. It was great. He's a worker and he does everything the way you want to see a young player do it," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "Seeing him go out there and just whack one like that and really get a hold of it, everyone enjoys those things. And now he's got a major league homer under his belt."