ATLANTA -- Since introducing himself to the Major League scene a little more than two months ago, Tommy La Stella has proven to be quite confident and comfortable. Thus, it probably should not have been surprising to see he had a way to counter the "silent treatment" he received after hitting his first Major League homer in Friday night's 7-6 win over the Nationals.
After hitting what proved to be a decisive home run off Stephen Strasburg to begin the bottom of the fifth, La Stella neared the Braves dugout, momentarily stood still while smirking and then walked past an expressionless Fredi Gonzalez toward the tunnel leading to the clubhouse.
"I figured I was going to get the big league treatment seeing how I had been up here for about three months with no home runs," La Stella said. "I figured it was coming. So when I got down there and saw them all sitting, that was pretty much what I expected.
"I went right up the tunnel. I froze them out myself. I countered their big league treatment and then came out and it was fine."
When La Stella reemerged from the tunnel, he stopped at the top of the dugout stairs, smirked again and then was swarmed by Jason Heyward, Chris Johnson, Alex Wood and his other teammates who have seen him hit .288 with a .731 OPS through the first 63 games of his career.
Before Friday, La Stella had not homered since playing his final game for Triple-A Gwinnett on May 27. This most recent home run trot certainly provided a much different sensation.
"It was pretty surreal," La Stella said. "I felt pretty light going around the bases. It was a pretty nice feeling."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.