Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 8/14/13
Mariners rookie Brad Miller figured the big memory of his homecoming night would be his pregame chance to reunite here with dozens of well-wishers from his hometown. That would prove one huge miscalculation once the native of the Orlando Fla. suburb of Windemere drilled the third pitch of Tuesday night’s game over the wall in right-center field. His section of family and friends had barely calmed down after that when Miller hit another homer in the fifth inning of what became a 5-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. Dustin Ackley brought home the tiebreaking run with a sixth-inning triple providing the storybook conclusion for a night Miller could not have dreamed up any better. “It was awesome’’ he said. “Just before the game getting to see every coach I’ve ever had since I was like 5. My best friends and my parents. And then to go out there and get things going and finish it off with a win that was perfect. It was a lot of fun.’’ Miller nearly clubbed a third homer before Wil Myers ran down his eighth-inning drive to the warning track in left-center. Danny Farquhar closed out the ninth inning for his fifth save enabling Erasmo Ramirez to improve to 4-0 while handing the Rays a sixth straight defeat. It took several additional minutes for Miller to leave the field postgame. He chatted with a remaining crowd of well-wishers he estimated at between 40 and 60 people. Their noise was easily heard above the Tropicana Field crowd of 13294 when Miller took Rays rookie starter Chris Archer deep to lead off the game. Some would succumb to the pressure of playing in front of such a crowd but Miller said it never crossed his mind. “I mean it’s just so cool’’ he said. “Having my family and everybody there just supporting me. I wanted to go out there and have fun and just keep playing the way they’ve seen me play.’’ And that he did. So did leadoff counterpart Ben Zobrist of the Rays who matched Miller’s effort with two home runs off Ramirez to help set some baseball history. It was only the third time – the others being in 1994 and 1965 – that two leadoff hitters had hit multiple homers in the same game. Their first-inning blasts also marked the first time since Aug. 17 2006 that opposing hitters in an American League game had clubbed leadoff homers. Miller interestingly enough had made the two-hour drive here from Windemere with his father back on Aug. 6 2006 and watched from the stands as Zobrist hit his first career homer against the Red Sox. Zobrist’s first shot off Ramirez on Tuesday was the 100th of his career.
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