ATLANTA -- It seemed only fitting Ender Inciarte caught the first last out ever recorded in SunTrust Park history. Over the course of the previous three hours, the Braves' center fielder had highlighted a 5-2 win over the Padres by recording a number of memorable firsts in this new stadium's
ATLANTA -- It seemed only fitting Ender Inciarte caught the first last out ever recorded in SunTrust Park history. Over the course of the previous three hours, the Braves' center fielder had highlighted a 5-2 win over the Padres by recording a number of memorable firsts in this new stadium's history.
"I wasn't trying to do too much, but I knew it was going to be a special night for me," said Inciarte, who will forever be recognized as the man who recorded the first hit, home run and out in the history of Atlanta's new ballpark.
• All the firsts from historic night in Atlanta
Energized by a sold-out crowd of 41,149 and pregame ceremonies that featured many of the Braves' legends, Inciarte highlighted his night of firsts when he created some late cushion with the two-run, sixth-inning home run he hit down the right-field line against Craig Stammen.
The moon shot, which had a 40-degree launch angle (matching the highest recorded on a Braves home run during the Statcast™ era) was the third homer in a seven-at-bat span for the outfielder, who totaled three homers in 522 at-bats last year.
"I had a really good feeling about tonight," Inciarte said. "When I got to a 3-0 count, I was ready to swing. I knew I had to take a strike, but I knew I was going to swing hard and I got the good result."
Inciarte recorded the stadium's first out when he caught Manuel Margot's fly ball in center field and then led off the bottom of the first inning with an infield single that accounted for the ballpark's first hit. He used his speed to beat the throw a slightly shifted third baseman Ryan Schimpf made after ranging to his right to grab a slicing low liner after it hit the infield dirt.
A few moments later, Inciarte tallied the park's first run. He moved to third base on a Freddie Freeman double -- the stadium's first extra-base hit -- and then scored when Nick Markakis drove in the first two runs with a double off the right-center-field wall.
"I was just trying to see the ball and hit it," Inciarte said of the first hit. "[Padres starter Jhoulys] Chacin had really good movement on his fastball tonight, and once I got that pitch and that infield single, I think everyone was just feeling good."
There was certainly a special buzz throughout the night, and the day's celebratory feel advanced to another level when Jim Johnson's scoreless ninth inning was capped by Inciarte securing Luis Sardinas's game-ending flyout.
"Everybody was pumped in the dugout," Inciarte said. "You have that energy out on the field. So, that's what we were looking for. We know the fans can give us that energy every day, and we can do a lot of great things in this ballpark."
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.