Comcast SportsNet Bay Area cameras caught Tomlinson's wife, Tiffany, and his father-in-law, Bill Prater, exulting in the Turner Field grandstand. That set off an emotional chain reaction on Twitter, as fans expressed their joy for Tomlinson and his family.
"I felt pretty good," Tomlinson said afterward. "I thought I'd be a little bit nervous, but it felt like another game."
That echoed manager Bruce Bochy's analysis of Tomlinson's at-bat.
"I'm sure he was a little nervous, although he didn't seem like it," Bochy said. "That was a nice piece of hitting there."
The Giants purchased Tomlinson's contract as they placed All-Star second baseman Joe Panik on the 15-day disabled list with lower back inflammation. Before the game, Bochy compared Tomlinson's line-drive hitting style to that of Matt Duffy, who entered Monday leading National League rookies in batting average and hits.
Due to the Giants' defeat, Tomlinson, 25, was somewhat subdued in the clubhouse afterward, though his incandescent smile conveyed the satisfaction he derived from his achievement. His fulfillment was well-deserved, since his was a stealthy path to the big leagues. Selected in the 12th round in the 2011 Draft, Tomlinson toiled mostly anonymously in the Minors yet steadily rose through the system.
As he said, being a big leaguer "is what you play for and hope for."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.