MEXICO CITY, Mexico -- Carlos Correa and Tyler White hit back-to-back bleacher reachers in the fourth inning to lead the Houston Astros to an 11-1 victory over the San Diego Padres. The game played at Fray Nano was the first Major League Baseball game played in Mexico in 12 years.
"In batting practice the hitters were excited and the pitchers were a little nervous, but as the game progressed the guys did a great job," Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. "I'm happy because we played great on both sides of the ball, especially at the end with the bat, but we also continued to get strikes."
The last time a big league team played in Mexico City was in March 2004, when the Astros battled with the Miami Marlins at Foro Sol in Mexico City, which seats 26,000 for a baseball game. The game at Fray Nano stadium seats 5,000 fans.
"The atmosphere was a better environment, with so much energy. It was greater than a normal spring training game," Hinch said. "The music, the vibe was a bit higher, so we are happy to be here."
Robbie Erlin toed the slab for the Padres and went 5.0 innings into the game. The 25-year-old left-handed pitcher gave up two runs on two hits and two walks with five strikeouts on Saturday. The Astros, however, sent Chris Devenski to the hill and he continued his impressive spring with 4.1 strong innings. The right-hander struck out seven and gave up just three hits. Devenski owns a 0.87 ERA with 15 strikeouts across 10.1 innings.
Jabari Blash, the left fielder for San Diego, was hit in the head by a pitch from Preston Tucker and was forced to leave the game. After the game, it was noted that Blash is fine and did not have any injury.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, after Correa and White hit homers in the fourth inning, Jake Marisnick double to left field and scored Tony Kemp. Moments later, Leo Heras flew out to center field and Marisnick trotted home for a 4-0 lead.
The Astros got seven runs in the bottom of the eighth inning for an 11-0 lead. Tyler Heineman singled in Danny Worth, Heras picked up an RBI single scoring Kemp, Joe Sclafani singled to right field and Heineman crossed home. Last but not least, Worth reached base for the second time in the same inning on a line drive to right field to score Heras, Sclafani and Colin Moran.
Josh Martin gave up the first four runs of the eighth inning on one hit and two walks. Jeff Ibarra did not record an out, while giving up three runs on three hits. It took long enough, but Kyle Lloyd struck out an Astros hitter for the final out of the inning.
The Padres finally got on the board as Trae Santos tripled on a liner to right field off Jose Hernandez to score Auston Bousfield. Hernandez stayed in the game and finalized the 11-1 lead for Houston.
"You never want to lose like this. We want to win, but this is spring training and we're evaluating players," San Diego manager Andy Green said. "The ball flied a lot but unfortunately we did not take advantage of it."
Believe it or not, the Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow was born in Mexico City and lived there until he was a 15-year-old. During the season, the Astros, Padres, Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks will be a few teams in high competition for the Mexican fan base.
"I'm very happy. I grew up here, so it's good to be back. Since Day 1 I imagined being here for a game. It took me four years, but thanks to the commissioner and the Mexico City officials we were able to achieve it," Luhnow said. "As an organization it's a big step for us. Hopefully this is the first of many because we want to be known as Mexico's team."
The Padres and Astros will face off at 3:00 PM ET on Sunday at the same venue for the finale of the two game series. Brady Rodgers, 25, will hit the mound for the Astros and will be opposed by Cesar Vargas, 24, of the Padres.