BOSTON -- Stephen Piscotty looked to the sky, tapping his heart as he crossed home plate.
"Pure joy," he would later say.
The gesture, he noted last week after his mother, Gretchen, died following a year-long battle with ALS, was her way of signaling, "I love you and thank you" in her final days.
Now, he's mimicking the motions of mom, who really outdid herself on Tuesday night.
Playing in his first game back with the A's after taking time to grieve her passing, Piscotty sent one over the Green Monster in his first at-bat for a solo home run in the second inning of a rain-delayed affair in Boston.
An emotional moment also proved to be a crucial one for these A's, who clung to a one-run lead for much of the game, before Mark Canha delivered a two-run double in the eighth to help them secure a 5-3 victory for a series win over the Red Sox.
"I don't know what to say about that," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "To hit a home run in his first at-bat like that, there's something in the air. Probably Gretchen.
"It was like a walk-off. The guys just embraced him when he got in the dugout."
This was no ordinary homer. No ordinary week for Piscotty.
The outfielder missed four games while on the bereavement list to be with his family, who gathered in Pleasanton, Calif., on Monday for a celebration of Gretchen's life. He boarded a 6 a.m. PT flight to Boston on Tuesday and found himself in the starting lineup upon landing.
"It's been an emotional week," Piscotty said. "I've been a little cried out, so I didn't tear up or anything. It felt real good knowing my family was watching, I know my mom was watching.
"Coming around third, just immediately started thinking of my mom. I put my hand over my chest like she would do, and that's kind of going to be my thing going forward."
Matt Chapman got the A's on the board in the first courtesy of a two-out, two-run double, and right-hander Daniel Mengden did his part with six strong innings. He held the Red Sox to two runs -- just one earned -- despite scattering eight hits, one of them a solo homer to Andrew Benintendi in the fifth. Mengden didn't walk a batter and stranded six baserunners.
The A's, back at .500, have taken four of five from the Red Sox this season.
"We know we can compete with all these teams, we can beat all these teams," Mengden said. "It's a tough road trip for us, probably one of our tougher ones of the year, and getting these wins on the road are huge, and I think we're going to keep it rolling."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Right-hander Lou Trivino replaced Mengden in the seventh and provided two scoreless innings to keep the Red Sox away. The rookie worked around a two-out double in the seventh and managed to strike out J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts in the eighth.
"Trivino was absolutely terrific," Melvin said. "To be able to come out on the mound and give us two innings like that allows us to rest some guys and have more guys available the next day."
The A's are 14-0 when leading after seven innings this season and 16-0 when leading after eight.
HE SAID IT
"That's an emotional moment for him. That's a big at-bat hitting a homer there, and I know it means the world to him. Everyone was really excited for him. It's just incredible to see that." -- Mengden, on Piscotty
Right-hander Trevor Cahill will return from the disabled list Wednesday to start the 4:10 p.m. PT series finale in Boston. Cahill, who missed one start with a right elbow impingement, is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA across four starts for the A's, who will have to go to battle with Red Sox lefty Chris Sale (3-1, 2.17 ERA).