After a rocky start on the road, the Atlanta Braves debuted SunTrust Park with a sweep of the Padres. The inaugural home series featured all the things Braves fans hope to see for years to come. In the opener, Braves ace, Julio Teheran, kicked things off with a solid start. He went six innings with five strikeouts and only allowed two runs in the 5-2 win. Ender Inciarte also had a stellar night with a plethora of firsts at SunTrust. The young centerfielder recorded the first putout, hit, run, and hit the first homer at the new park. The game also featured a multi-hit night from star first basemen Freddie Freeman.
In the final game of the opening series Freeman went for a career night. He had four extra-base hits, including two double and two homers. His eighth-inning solo shot tied the game at four and then in the bottom of the ninth inning, Dansby Swanson came to the plate with a runner on third and two outs. The Marietta, Ga. native came to the plate battling some demons after a 7-for-52 start. Padres reliever, Brandon Maurer worked a breaking ball into the zone to get ahead 1-2 in the count. Then he threw a fastball in the upper nineties, up and in on Swanson. Swanson turned and made just enough contact to drop it in front of a diving left fielder for his first career walk-off hit.
The walk-off win capped a home opening sweep for the Braves. Freeman slashed .583/.688/1.333 for the series continuing his hot start to the year. The series even saw a 7 inning 1 hit performance from the lovable Bartolo Colon. The Braves saved their best baseball for their fans at home after a 2-6 start on the road. However, the play on the field isn’t the only thing to be happy about in Atlanta. The new park is aesthetically pleasing to fans in attendance and to those watching on TV. The brick wall behind home plate and in right field gives a classy new look that was lacking at their former home. SunTrust also has new features like a water display in centerfield and an all around more intimate setup with seats much closer to the field.
Everything just felt right at SunTrust Park with Braves baseball. It’s a beautiful park and it hosted some beautiful moments in its opening series. From Hank Aaron’s first pitch strike to Dansby’s walk-off, things could not have gone better. It was the perfect way to open up a new stadium.