MEXICO CITY – Jabari Blash, Adam Rosales and Jon Jay homered during a nine-run first inning and the San Diego Padres routed the Houston Astros 21-6 in a split-squad game Sunday, finishing up the first Major League Baseball series in Mexico City in 12 years.
Blash, who left Saturday night’s game in the sixth after being hit in the head by a pitch, connected for a three-run shot. Rosales added a two-run drive and Jay hit a three-run homer.
Travis Jankowski and Casey McElroy homered later for the Padres, taking advantage of Mexico City*s altitude of 7,350 feet.
“Any time you hit three home runs in a first inning you have to be happy, but we also made a couple of bunts that were very exciting,” Padres manager Andy Green said. “Overall I will say that it was a great experience to come down here and represent baseball and our culture.”
Yangervis Solarte added two RBIs for the Padres, who lost 11-1 to the Astros the previous night.
Colin Moran homered for Houston.
“It was a long day. It’s not ideal to have a start to play like that, but we had a lot of young pitching and they got to them, so it’s a tough loss,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said.
Mexico City hosted big league games for the first time since March 2004, when the Astros played the Marlins at Foro Sol. These games were played at Fray Nano stadium, which seats 5,000 fans.
Padres pitcher Cesar Vargas was born about 85 miles south of Mexico City and the game was a homecoming for him. Family and friends came to see him pitch in his home country for the first time and he did not disappoint.
Vargas had five strikeouts in three scoreless innings, his longest outing this spring. One of his strikeouts came against Marwin Gonzalez, and the crowd went wild.
“Most kids that play baseball dream of pitching in their country with a major league team, so this was very special for me. I wanted to do great but you never know what’s going to happen when you go out there, but fortunately for me today it was a great game,” Vargas said. “It was an extra motivation to play for my family that was here today.”