For the record books: ‘Firsts’ at SunTrust Park
Friday was a day of firsts for SunTrust Park. First regular-season game. First sellout crowd. First postgame fireworks show. Here’s a rundown of other “firsts” for the new stadium from the Braves’ 5-2 win over the Padres in the stadium opener.
This came at 7:53 p.m., from Braves starter Julio Teheran to Padres leadoff batter Manuel Margot, who swung at the initial offering and flew out to center field.
Starting what would be a remarkable SunTrust Park debut for him, Braves center fielder Ender Inciarte caught Margot’s game-opening fly ball and then kissed the baseball. “I told myself, ‘Well, I caught the first out in this ballpark,’” Inciarte said. “It’s just a special night I’m going to be able to remember for always.”
Inciarte led off the bottom of the first inning by beating out an infield single to third base.
First extra-base hit
Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman doubled to left-center field with one out in the first, moving Inciarte to third.
Inciarte claimed this entry in the record book, too, scoring the first of two Braves runs in the first inning off Padres pitcher (and former Brave) Jhoulys Chacin.
Braves right fielder Nick Markakis produced the ballpark’s first and second RBIs, with a one-out double to deep right field that scored Inciarte and Freeman in the first.
First home run
Capping his extraordinary night, Inciarte hit SunTrust Park’s first home run, a two-run shot down the right-field line on a 3-1 pitch from Padres reliever Craig Stammen in the sixth inning. “I knew it was gone,” Inciarte said. “I hope that ball is somewhere, man. I want it.” (So to recap Inciarte’s night: He collected the ballpark’s first hit, first run, first home run and first putout.)
Teheran posted the first win in the stadium, battling through six innings on 105 pitches, allowing five hits and two runs, walking four and striking out five. “I’m happy now that I got this special moment for the team, for my career,” Teheran said.
The third Braves reliever of the night, Jim Johnson, worked a scoreless ninth inning for the stadium’s first save.
First last out
Fittingly, Inciarte caught this one, too: Luis Sardinas’ liner to center to end the game.
First tool race
Hammer won the first “Home Depot Tool Race” in SunTrust Park history. “When Hank Aaron is in the building, you let the hammer win,” Phil the Bucket tweeted.