After crushing his first Major League Baseball home run off Felix Hernandez, only one of the game's best pitchers, in the fifth inning of Tuesday's game against the Seattle Mariners, Dalton Pompey took a moment to reflect on the milestone.
"As soon as I hit it I pretty much knew I got it," said the self-assured 21-year-old Mississauga, Ont., native, who continues to turn heads with less than one month's service at the big level for the Toronto Blue Jays.
"I don't hit too many home runs but I knew when I hit that one it just took off and I was just watching it," Pompey continued. "It was kind of a shock for a moment – like who's pitching, the ball I hit. I've played with that guy [Hernandez] on video games and to think I'd just hit a home run off him was pretty crazy."
It was a wild turn of events that transpired at Rogers Center that night as the Blue Jays trampled Seattle for the second consecutive night, this time by a score of 10-2.
On Monday night against up and coming Canadian pitcher James Paxton, the Blue Jays stroked 16 hits on their way to a 14-4 triumph.
"I think it's one of the things that makes baseball so unique," said Toronto pitcher R.A. Dickey, the beneficiary of Toronto's offensive largesse on Tuesday when he cruised on the mound for his 14th victory.
"If you would have told me that we'd score 24 runs off those guys coming into the series I would have been happy with three a game.
"But you've got to tip your hat to our guys, they put together some fantastic at-bats. I mean, really working counts, squaring mistakes up. And Felix might not have had his best stuff [on Tuesday}, but that guy's a champion. And anytime you can get to him it's a testament to how well you did."
Despite the impressive outings, it was too little, too late for the Blue Jays, whose hunt for a post-season berth in 2014 officially came to a close Tuesday night.
They were eliminated from the slim possibility of being able to snag the second wildcard berth in the American League when the Kansas City Royals defeated the Cleveland Indians.
Afterwards, the always-introspective Dickey hinted that Blue Jays management could have done a bit more to help a team that sat in first place for 48 days earlier in the season but stumbled badly during the last two months of the year.
At the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline, the Blue Jays were just 1.5-games back of the eventual A.L. East victor, the Baltimore Orioles. They were holding the second A.L. wild card berth by three games over Seattle.
But Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos chose not to make any key moves around the trade deadline that perhaps would have significantly strengthened Toronto's hand, and the team faltered.
Toronto's record since July 31 is now 20-27 and it was nowhere near good enough to contend.
"I think it was a disappointment, having not gone to the post season – again – with a team that I felt like was very capable," Dickey said. "Of course, we're all disappointed and we should be. Everyone in here should be disappointed. And so you've got to learn, you've got to grow, you've got to look for opportunities to see how you can improve and get better or the season is lost. "
Dickey added that he feels Toronto is very close to being able to contend if the Blue Jays could just iron out the inconsistencies that plagued the club over the course of the season.
"And there were some outside circumstances that maybe some of the guys, including myself, hoped would turn out differently, you know, at the trade deadline," Dickey said. "But you can't pout about that stuff. I feel like we've got a good contingency of players in here that know each other well enough and that are dedicated to a collective goal of winning a pennant. And that's the hope. Of course, we're some pieces away or we would of done it. So we've got to try to identify what that is and move on."
And perhaps the future is with young players like Pompey, an outfielder who rose through three levels in the minors this year to reach the Blue Jays as a September call-up – who then hits his first home run off a pitcher the likes of Hernandez with his mother and father watching from the stands.
"And for a guy like that to do it in front of family, that's a cool thing," Dickey said. "That's what baseball offers is cool stories like that. And hopefully the night will be about that."