"I guess you can't really get the silent treatment for that," Swanson said when asked about the reaction he received when he returned to the dugout. "That's just like a baseball phenomenon."
Swanson, the Braves' No. 1 prospect, concluded the 61st plate appearance of his blossoming career by becoming the first Braves player since Paul Runge in 1985 to record his first home run with one of the inside-the-park variety. Tigers catcher James McCann (April 29, 2015) had been the most recent Major League player to experience his first homer in that manner.
"I doubt he imagined his first one going that way, but that's the kind of player he's been since he got up here," Braves catcher Tyler Flowers said. "He's extremely professional and humble as can be. He works his tail off doing everything the right way. So, once we saw it ricochet, we figured he was running hard and wanted it. He made it rather easily."
According to Statcast™, it took Swanson 14.97 seconds to round the bases. That is the third-fastest trip from home plate to home plate recorded this season, but the fastest on a home run. Melvin Upton Jr. covered this distance in 14.85 seconds while scoring on a triple and an error. Brett Gardner was clocked at 14.89 seconds, but he was thrown out as he attempted to complete an inside-the-park home run.
"When you get going, it's all about the angles," Swanson said. "That is one of the biggest things in baseball, just being able to hit the base and get a good angle going from one to the other."
With two outs and nobody on in the second inning, Swanson drilled a liner off Gio Gonzalez that rose and sliced as it soared over center fielder Trea Turner's head and hit hard off the outfield wall before caroming back toward the middle of the grass in center field.
"It bounced off the wall a lot farther than I thought it was going to," Turner said. "Just a weird play."
Showing some of the speed and hustle that helped him become the first overall selection by the D-backs in the 2015 Draft, Swanson sprinted out of the box and rounded first base as the ball thudded off the wall and eluded Turner while heading back toward the infield.
"I just thought it was going to be my first triple," Swanson said. "Then as it kept going, judging from the reaction in the dugout and the crowd, I thought maybe I'll be getting an inside-the-parker. So I just kept going and created that angle to go home."
Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper raced to center field to grab the baseball, but his throw to the plate reached catcher Wilson Ramos as Swanson was sliding head-first across the plate.
"He hit it good, and it just kept carrying," manager Brian Snitker said. "From where the center fielder ended up, when it went by him, I was thinking, 'Well, he's got a chance now.' That was pretty cool."
Swanson has now hit an inside-the-park home run for each of the three teams -- Class A Advanced Carolina, Double-A Mississippi and Atlanta -- he has played for this year. The first home run he hit for Carolina was also one that did not clear the outfield wall.