It’s really quite fitting that Ender Inciarte ended up catching the final out of the Braves’ first win at SunTrust Park, because he was involved in a litany of other firsts. Most importantly, he helped lead the Braves to their first win in Cobb County — a 5-2 win over San Diego on what was a historic night for the club and their new stadium.
The very first pitch of regular season baseball at SunTrust Park resulted in a flyball out that was caught by the dynamic center fielder. Again, that wouldn’t be the last “first” that Inciarte would pick up on the evening.
In fact, he ended up collecting the first hit in SunTrust Park history with a leadoff single in the bottom of the first. He eventually made it home to score the Braves’ first run in Cobb County when Nick Markakis looped a double over the head of Hunter Renfroe. Freddie Freeman also scored, and Julio Teheran found himself with a very early two-run lead to work with.
Unfortunately, the lead was shortlived as the Padres managed to get a rally going after Teheran plunked Erick Aybar with two outs. Austin Hedges reached base on a single, which allowed Aybar to make it to third. It seemed like Teheran could have escaped this inning unscathed with Jhoulys Chacin at the plate, but the wily pitcher managed to turn an ugly “excuse-me” swing into an RBI single, and the Padres were on the board. Manuel Margot then tied it up with a single of his own, and that’s where the scoring would end at that point.
Julio Teheran would personally exact his revenge in the bottom of the fourth inning. Tyler Flowers got things going in that frame with a two-out single, and then a walk by Jace Peterson set the stage for Teheran to try to replicate Chacin’s success with the bat. Teheran hit the second pitch he saw right back at Chacin, who was unable to corral it and Teheran legged out an infield single that allowed Tyler Flowers to score from second and put the Braves back in front.
In 20 years at Turner Field, only 7x did both starting pitchers drive in runs. In Game 1 at SunTrust Park, Chacin and Teheran have RBIs.— AJ Cassavell (@AJCassavell) April 15, 2017
The sixth inning ended up being a watershed moment for both teams. Julio Teheran started things off by getting himself into a decent-sized jam. He plunked Yangveris Solarte to lead off the inning and then followed that up by giving a free pass Ryan Schimpf. At this point, Teheran was approaching 100 pitches and things were looking a little shaky. However, just as quickly as he got into the jam, he got himself out of it by getting two fly ball outs and then picking up his fifth and final strikeout of the night to end the frame.
Meanwhile, Ender Inciarte added yet another SunTrust Park “first” to his tally, and this was the biggest one of the night — with Emilio Bonifacio on first base, Inciarte gave the fans in the Chop House a souvenir to fight over as he delivered the first home run at the new ballpark. The milestone dinger made it 5-2, and the bullpen made sure that it stayed that way for the rest of the game.
Overall, Opening Night at SunTrust Park went about as well as it possibly could have gone for the home team. The Braves never trailed in this game, they led early, Julio Teheran pitched well, Ender Inciarte was all over the place in a good way, and the night ended in victory. Hopefully it’s the first of many in the new stadium.