Rangers beat Padres 5-2 before 40,000 in Alamodome
Someone finally took advantage of the short right-field wall at the Alamodome when Leury Garcia lined a three-run homer over the 285-foot sign to lead the Texas Rangers past the San Diego Padres 5-2 on Saturday.
The Rangers swept both games played in the Alamodome, which is designed primarily for football and special events such as the NCAA Final Four but had not hosted baseball until this weekend.
A crowd of 40,569 pushed San Antonio's two-day total to 75,210.
Texas opens the regular season Sunday night in Houston against a new AL West rival in the Astros. San Diego travels to New York to face the Mets on Monday.
Despite the inviting porch down the right-field line, it took the Rangers 12 innings to clear it for an easy home run. With two on in the fourth, Garcia hit a line drive off Padres starter Jason Marquis that took almost no time in barely clearing the 16-foot, Minneapolis Metrodome-era tarp that served as an outfield wall.
"I just thought about putting the bat on the ball - see and hit," Garcia said. "When I did and saw the ball, I thought, `Yeah, no, yeah, no.' It made it."
Garcia's drive gave the Rangers a 5-0 lead. Derek Holland got the win after striking out six and walking none in four scoreless innings. He allowed four hits.
San Diego's Chris Denorfia popped one over the tarp in the eighth, his second home run of the day.
"That's a good call, to say it's an Alamodome home run," Padres manager Bud Black said. "But when guys give you a high-five after you circled the bases in any ballpark, it's a good feeling."
Marquis walked six, including his first three batters. Texas jumped out to a 2-0 lead on Jeff Baker's hard-hit single past second base.
NOTES: Texas informed pitchers Cory Burns and Josh Lindblom that they will be optioned to Triple-A Round Rock, opening the door for OF Julio Borbon to return to the big leagues this season. "I think the pitching is fine," Rangers manager Ron Washington said, referring to his bullpen. "They all down the stretch threw the ball well and have done it at the right time. Plus, Borbon earned his way on this team. Right now, he can give us some speed off the bench." ... Borbon played in 32 games for the Rangers last year after appearing in 137 games in 2010. In three major league seasons he has struck out 96 times and drawn 37 walks. He walked to open the game Saturday and scored, then struck out his final two trips to the plate. "I'm proud of myself," Borbon said. "It's a new chapter. I'm going in with a different role, trying to do anything I can to help the team, anything I'm asked to do." ... The ceremonial first pitch was thrown by Rangers President Nolan Ryan. ... The Rangers stole seven bases without being caught during the two-game set. San Diego did not manage a steal but was caught twice. ... The Padres hit into five double plays over the weekend, Texas two. ... San Diego hit five home runs during the series compared to one for Texas.
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