DENVER — Baseball can be poetic, and for Starling Marte, this was one of those moments.

Marte, on the first pitch he saw since returning from the bereavement list following his grandmother’s sudden death, crushed a home run off Rockies right-hander German Marquez and parked it in the left-center field seats at Coors Field in the first inning of the Mets’ 5-1 win. Marte pointed toward the sky as he rounded first base. When he crossed home plate, Marte again touched his heart, then put his hands together, looked up and pointed at the sky.

“That’s something I always do when I hit a home run,” Marte said through interpreter Alan Suriel. “That’s for my loved ones that are up there in heaven. Just hoping that they’re proud of me.”

His Mets teammates hugged Marte as he made his way through the dugout, and not just because he had given them an early 2-0 lead. It was obvious this was an emotional moment for the right fielder, who was activated to the Mets roster on Saturday.

Mets manager Buck Showalter said of his reaction to Marte’s first-pitch home run: “We all kind of looked at each other and said, ‘Really?’ You can’t make that stuff up. It was emotional. I’m glad I had sunglasses on. Regardless of the season and the game, win, lose, or draw, if you don’t take that in, you need to check your pulse. That was pretty special.”

The Mets saved the home run ball for Marte, Showalter said.

“She was a great person,” Marte said of his grandmother. “It’s sad that she’s not around. It’s sad for the whole family. … She would always give me this prayer to say right before a game, and that’s what I remembered most today in a situation like that.”

Marte’s grandmother, Brigada Gonzalez, died earlier this week and he returned home to the Dominican Republic to be with his family. Marte said he had a strong relationship with his grandmother, who raised him and his two siblings after his mother died when he was just 10 years old.

“She was the one who taught me things, she was the one who gave me the education and pretty much the character I have today,” Marte said. “It’s a hard situation because it’s one of those things that’s going to be in my mind for a very long time. But being around the team, in a sense it is a distraction, but at the same time it is what it is. You kind of have to go through it, because things happen in life and we’re just going to try to go along with it.”

It was a tough week for Marte, who also recognized his wife’s two-year death anniversary on Wednesday. His wife, Noelia, died two years ago from a sudden heart attack while she was awaiting surgery on her foot. Marte, who has since raised two young kids on his own, shared his emotions in an Instagram post on Wednesday.

“The pain of your loss still feels awfully the same,” Marte captioned for his wife. “It’s hard to take in. You’re too needed. … The children ask about you and with a broken heart I can only answer them with the truth: that you are in the place you earned yourself here on Earth, that place is Heaven. … I reaffirm my promise to honor your memory and to guide our children along the path of good, as you would have done.”

Showalter said there’s no manual on how to navigate the painful situation that Marte is currently going through, except that he needs to play. Showalter already spoke to his players, while Marte was on the bereavement list, telling them that he would need them when he returned. Other than that, Showalter said the only thing he can do for Marte is give him space and be there when he needs him to be.

“There’s a lot of things you experience in life that won’t go away,” Showalter said. “They won’t. There’s no formula to make them go away. Pain is tough.”


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