When Daniel Nava hit the first pitch he ever saw in the major leagues for a grand slam on June 12, 2010, he knew it wasn't going to be that easy.
But there was no way Nava could have known that it would take almost two years before he hit another one.
And yet, after failing to hit another one that rookie season and remaining in the minors for all of 2011, Nava's career homer total stood at one.
Until the fourth inning Monday night.
With Cody Ross on base with a leadoff single, Nava, hitting righthanded, drove a ball into the Monster Seats for a two-run homer, ending what had become a homerless drought that had stretched to 171 at-bats.
"I didn't think it was gone," said Nava after the Red Sox had completed a 6-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners. "Knowing how big the wall is and seeing some other balls guys have hit, I didn't feel like it compared (to others). I thought it was going to go off The Wall and then I was surprised that it barely squeaked over. But I'll take it. I'm not going to complain."
After all, when it's been nearly two years since your last one, any homer is welcome.
"We were joking in the dugout," said Nava. "They were congratulating me and I said, 'I'm just glad that I hit more than one.' A couple of years ago, (current teammate Kelly Shoppach) was with the Rays and I stepped into the box and he said, 'Hey, you're the guy who hit that home run on the first pitch.' I said, 'Yeah.' Then he said, 'You really haven't really done anything since.' I started laughing. I couldn't really say anything.
"So when I hit that one (Monday night), I thought, 'Thank God, I'm not going to have just one.' I wasn't expecting one or trying to. It just happened."
Home run or not, Nava has been in the middle of a torrid stretch at the plate. In the five games he's played since being promoted from Pawtucket, Nava's had 20 plate appearances and reached base 15 times on seven hits, six walks and two hit-by-pitch.
"It's been phenomenal," said Bobby Valentine of Nava's hot stretch. "Every hitter when they're in that zone says they're seeing the ball well. He's fouling off the tough pitches and putting a good swing on strikes. That's a hitter's wonderland. He's in it and I hope he stays in it for a long time."
"I hit a stretch (earlier this season) where I was pressing too much," said Nava. "I had to simplify things. Not press, just relax and let the game come to me. I'm really trying to go one at-bat at a time and not worry about the big picture -- the rest of the season, getting called up, stuff like that.
"It makes it a lot simper."