Stephen Piscotty homers in first at-bat back from bereavement leave after mother's death

As Stephen Piscotty crossed home plate, he put his hand to his heart and, just briefly, glanced upward to the sky. He had just taken another step in one of baseball’s most emotional journeys this season.

Piscotty homered in his first at-bat back from the bereavement list, which he landed on after the death of his mother Gretchen on May 6. Facing Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez, Piscotty launched a ball over the Green Monster and made his trek around the bases. It was an amazing moment.

Piscotty had been out of the Athletics lineup since May 11, taking time off to mourn Gretchen Piscotty after nearly a year-long battle with ALS, but not before getting a hit in his first at-bat after her death. After taking a span of time off that included Mothers’ Day, Piscotty made his return count in a 5-3 Athletics win.

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Tributes to Stephen Piscotty's late mother
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Tributes to Stephen Piscotty's late mother
BOSTON, MA - MAY 15: Stephen Piscotty #25 of the Oakland Athletics reacts as he crosses home plate on his solo home run in the second inning of a game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on May 15, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - MAY 07: The Oakland Athletics bow their heads for a moment of silence to honor Gretchen Piscotty, the mother of Stephen Piscotty #25 of the Oakland Athletics, who passed away yesterday before their game against the Houston Astros at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on May 7, 2018 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 13: Aaron Boone #17 of the New York Yankees presents Bob Melvin #6 of the Oakland Athletics with a check on behalf of the Yankees organization in the name of Gretchen Piscotty, the mother of A's Stephen Piscotty who recently passed away from ALS, prior to a game at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, May 13, 2018 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 15: Stephen Piscotty #25 high fives Marcus Semien #10 of the Oakland Athletics after hitting a solo home run in the second inning of a game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on May 15, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 15: Stephen Piscotty #25 of the Oakland Athletics reacts as he crosses home plate on his solo home run in the second inning of a game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on May 15, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
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Placing a hand over his heart carries special meaning for Piscotty, who told The Mercury News last week that the gesture was something his mother did to pass on her love.

“The hand over my heart, that’s something my mom would do when she wasn’t able to speak. This was just, ‘I love you and thank you.’ That’s what I did in the box and that’s kind of her way of saying. I’m going to keep that with me.

Piscotty’s homer made waves around baseball, with Orioles center fielder Adam Jones calling the feat “incredible.”

A reserved Piscotty told reporters after the game that it had been “an emotional week,” but the feeling he had from the home run was “pure joy.”

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