NEW YORK — Tim Locastro shook off the nerves and achieved a milestone he'll never forget.

Locastro, an Auburn native and Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder, hit his first major league home run in his first Yankee Stadium start Wednesday afternoon. The home run came in the ninth inning and sparked a Diamondbacks comeback attempt.

New York Yankees reliever Nestor Cortes Jr. threw a changeup on the outer part of the plate. Locastro jumped on the pitch and lined it into the left-field seats. The home run traveled an estimated 390 feet, according to ESPN.

The home run cut the Yankees' lead to three, and the Diamondbacks added another run in the ninth. But the rally came up short. The Yankees won 7-5.

"It's definitely surreal," Locastro said after the game about his first home run coming at Yankee Stadium. "But we lost today which definitely sucks. I'm happy for my parents, my friends and all of my family who were here because they can enjoy it."

Locastro had dozens of family members and friends from the Auburn area attend the two-game series in the Bronx. His parents, Colleen and Tim Sr., were at Yankee Stadium for both games.

He didn't play Tuesday in the Diamondbacks' 4-2 win over the Yankees. Wednesday morning, he learned he would be in the starting lineup.

Locastro admitted he was more nervous for his Yankee Stadium debut than his first major league game in 2017.

"The first two innings, I'd say, I was nervous," he said. "And then I got my first at-bat. After that, things sort of settled down and it was like a normal game."

Locastro flied out to center in his first at-bat. In the fourth inning, he came to the plate with the bases loaded. He was aggressive in his second at-bat. He took a big cut at the first pitch for a swinging strike, then fouled off a few pitches. He got another pitch to hit and lined it down the third-base line. However, Yankees third baseman Gio Urshela made a backhanded stop and threw Locastro out at first to end the threat.

After recording outs in his first two plate appearances, Locastro got on base in the sixth inning. He lined a one-out double into left-center field for his first hit at Yankee Stadium. Then came the solo home run in the ninth inning.

He said some of his family members began the game sitting in left field where his home run ball landed. But after a 36-minute rain delay, they moved to the right-field seats to try and talk to him.

Locastro finished 2-for-4 at the plate with the home run. It was the ninth multi-hit game of his career.

The Diamondbacks (54-55) are off Thursday. The club will resume play Friday with the first of three games against the Washington Nationals.

Arizona is in the playoff hunt. The Diamondbacks trail the Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies and Nationals by 3.5 games in the National League Wild Card race.

Locastro is focused on doing what he can to help his team qualify for the postseason.

"We got two months to play good baseball and make a push for the playoffs," he said.

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Online producer Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.


Online producer and politics reporter

I have been The Citizen's online producer and politics reporter since December 2009. I'm the author of the Eye on NY blog and write the weekly Eye on NY column that appears every Sunday in the print edition of The Citizen and online at auburnpub.com.