MIAMI -- It was nearly the perfect homecoming for Taylor Motter. With family and friends at Marlins Park to watch the pride of Palm Beach Gardens play in a Major League game, Motter was able to face the team he grew up watching.That was when the Marlins played their home
MIAMI -- It was nearly the perfect homecoming for Taylor Motter. With family and friends at Marlins Park to watch the pride of Palm Beach Gardens play in a Major League game, Motter was able to face the team he grew up watching.
That was when the Marlins played their home games at what is now Sun Life Stadium. He hadn't been back since the team moved to Marlins Park. Motter was on the other side of the diamond from the Marlins, though, in the Rays' dugout, for Monday's 7-6 loss in the first of a quick two-game set at Marlins Park, which concludes Tuesday afternoon.
"I had a lot of family at the game tonight," said Motter, who indicated that his mom, dad, aunts, grandmother, cousins, friends, and more were in the crowd. "About 14 in all," Motter said of his attending fan club.
Motter treated them to an impressive performance, going 2-for-3 with a home run, walk and three RBIs. His night started in the first inning, when he walked with the bases loaded to give the Rays a two-run lead. Then he led off the sixth with a long home run, his second of the season, to pull the Rays to within a run at 5-4.
"It's a team game and a tough loss, so I can't really be too happy about it," Motter said. "I couldn't tell you what pitch it was. I just know it was up. I was able to get my hands through it really well and stay through it."
He did acknowledge the thrill of rounding the bases, however.
"It was awesome," Motter said. "I was just overwhelmed, excited."
The 26-year-old's evening was nearly perfect. His seventh-inning double gave the Rays a 6-5 lead, bringing in Tim Beckham with the go-ahead run.
But Motter attempted to turn the double into a triple and ended up recording the second out of the inning at third base instead when he was tagged out on a close play. The Rays challenged the call, but it was confirmed the tag beat Motter to third base.
"It was a tie game [when I hit it], I had the right thought, just not the right result," Motter said. "I went too late; I should have gone a little bit earlier, or I should have just held up [at second] with one out. That would have been a lot better -- runner on second base with one out instead of trying to stretch it."
It was the only flaw in an otherwise impressive performance in Motter's homecoming.
Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami.