MEXICO CITY -- This was anything but your typical Spring Training game. The music was pumping between innings with more energy, a large crowd was into the action and the Astros and Padres soaked in the vibrant atmosphere on Saturday night at Estadio Fray Nano.The Astros beat the Padres, 11-1,
MEXICO CITY -- This was anything but your typical Spring Training game. The music was pumping between innings with more energy, a large crowd was into the action and the Astros and Padres soaked in the vibrant atmosphere on Saturday night at Estadio Fray Nano.
The Astros beat the Padres, 11-1, in the first game of the Mexico City Series, but the opportunity to play a pair of exhibition games outside the Cactus League for the Padres and away from the Grapefruit League for the Astros provided a nice change of pace.
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"When they told me I was going to Mexico, I was like, 'Yes!'" said Astros shortstop Carlos Correa, who hit a solo homer in the fourth. "I wanted to come here and be able to play in front of fans that can speak Spanish, so when I'm signing balls and stuff like that, I'm speaking Spanish to the fans. I enjoy back home in Houston, but sometimes it's nice to come here to Mexico and speak to the guys here that cannot travel to Houston to watch us play."
Correa and Astros second baseman Jose Altuve were two of the main attractions for the crowd, and Mexico native Leo Heras drew a big cheer during pregame introductions. Heras went 0-for-2 but picked up an RBI with a sac fly in the seventh inning.
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Mexico City mayor Miguel Angel Mancera Espinosa threw out the ceremonial first pitch, and MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred was introduced prior to the game. A crowd of 5,602 created a buzz throughout Fray Nano, which was expanded with seats down each baseline.
"The crowd brought a lot of energy," Padres manager Andy Green said. "It was a lot of fun playing in front of those guys, and it seemed like people really enjoyed it. It's great for us to be here." Both the Padres and Astros spoke of the experience positively.
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"I really liked to play on this field," Altuve said. "It looks like a Major League field, and the fans were great. They were happy to have a big league game here, and we're happy to give them a good show."
Correa and Tyler White hit back-to-back homers in the fourth to open the scoring for the Astros, who erupted for seven runs in the eighth inning. No one in the crowd seemed disappointed the game was so lopsided.
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"I think it's a better environment for sure because the energy in the ballpark is much greater here than a normal Spring Training game," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "The field conditions were great. It was a level playing field, a fast infield and an outfield where the ball is going to carry a little bit. The conditions, the atmosphere, the music, the vibe, everything is a little bit higher in this type of game and this type of environment than a normal Spring Training game. That's why we're happy we're here."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.