Emotional Stephen Piscotty rejoins Athletics, singles in first at-bat

With a heavy heart, Stephen Piscotty returned to the Oakland Athletics' lineup Tuesday night against the Houston Astros.

Upon stepping into the batter's box for the first time in the second inning, Piscotty -- two days after the death of his 55-year-old mother -- received an ovation from fans at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Athletics teammates and even the opposing Astros.

Piscotty then stepped to the plate and ripped a Lance McCullers fastball to right field for a hit. He ended the night 1-for-3 in Oakland's 4-2 loss. Piscotty's father was in attendance and later congratulated his son while being interviewed on the video board, saying, "Thatta boy, Stephen, on that hit."

"It was really, really incredible to watch," A's pitcher Sean Manaea said of Piscotty's appearance, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. "I got chills his first AB when the crowd gave him an ovation. It was just a real cool moment."

It capped an emotional few days for the veteran Piscotty, who was traded to Oakland by the St. Louis Cardinals this offseason in order to be closer to his mom, Gretchen, as she battled ALS.

Gretchen, who was honored with a moment of silence before the game, died Sunday night. Stephen, one of her three sons, mourned with family on Monday but felt ready to help Oakland on Tuesday, so manager Bob Melvin gave him the start in right field.

"I talked to him about it, and I gave him the option, and he wanted to play," Melvin told reporters before the game. "So we had a little conversation in the office. I knew coming into today that was what he wanted to do as of yesterday, but today, he definitely wants to be in the lineup around his teammates."

Piscotty is expected to go on bereavement later this week, according to Melvin.

"He knows he's going to have a lot of support from the guys today, and sometimes, just actually getting on the field and concentrating on what you do is maybe a little bit of a release from what he's going through," Melvin said. "He's been through a lot, and I think he feels good about being around his teammates today and in the lineup."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.