He trotted back to the dugout after tapping home plate on his three-run shot over the right field fence, and saw a small but passionate contingent of familiar faces cheering him, sticking out in the mostly sedate crowd of 11,770 Bees fans at Spring Mobile Ballpark.
Stephen Parker, the Sacramento River Cats' third baseman who grew up in American Fork, felt very much at home.
"It was good to have a good game after last night [a 17-7 loss]," Parker said. "You don't want to invite a bunch of friends and family and not play well in front of them."
Parker's home run was one of several Sacramento highlights as the River Cats topped Salt Lake 7-1 at home. The 6-foot-2 BYU alum played well, to the dismay of most of the hometown crowd.
His season numbers haven't been mighty he was batting .254 with six homers headed into the contest but Parker had a game to remember in his home state on Wednesday.
"I've dealt with a few struggles this season: Adjusting to a new league, better pitching," he said. "I'm starting to find my way. I'm just trying to put together as many good at-bats as I can."
Bees manager Keith Johnson later regretted that the opportunity even arose for Parker to pound one out onto the lawn. The at-bat before, Andrew Romine lost hold of an almost-sure double-play ball that would've ended the inning.
"Greg [Smith] made the pitch that should have gotten him out of the jam," Johnson said. "The next at-bat, he just left one hanging for Parker, and Parker's a good hitter."
After two scoreless innings to start the night, the River Cats' lineup started to figure out Salt Lake starter Smith. A Grant Green double scored Sacramento's first run in the third, then Kila Ka'aihue scored on a sacrifice fly the next inning.
The River Cats then showed some power, as Colling Cowgill blasted a homer to center field in the fifth. Parker's three-run homer in the sixth would be more than enough to keep the lead.
The Bees, by contrast, struggled to find their bats in a three-hit night. Chris Iannetta, Trevor Crowe and Matt Long each hit a double, but Crowe was the only one to find home plate. He advanced to third on an errant pickoff move by pitcher Brad Peacock, then scored on a wild pitch.
Other than the lone score, it was a strong night for Peacock, who struck out three and walked only one in six innings.
"Hats off to their pitcher," Johnson said. "He was hitting his spots early in the game. I thought we put together some good at-bats."
Vernon Wells, who had hit safely in every game of his rehab stint in Salt Lake, had a quiet night, reaching base only after being hit by a pitch. Luis Jimenez was inactive a day after getting four base hits.
Storylines River Cats 7, Bees 1
R Sacramento third baseman Stephen Parker, an American Fork native, crushes a three-run homer in a 7-1 rout of the Bees.
• Salt Lake manages only three hits, all doubles.
• Greg Smith gives up eight hits and six runs in a six-inning start for the Bees.