Mark Teixeira had a spectacular debut with the Atlanta Braves, hitting a home run, and four RBI, including the 500th of his short career.
The AJC’s David O’Brien:
The press box caught fire the night of Fred McGriff’s first game with the Braves in 1993. In Mark Teixeira’s Braves debut, Houston Astros pitchers were torched.
Atlanta’s refortified lineup of sluggers and count-workers scored seven runs in the first inning and got a three-run homer from Teixeira in the sixth during a 12-3 rout of the Astros at Turner Field in Teixeira’s Braves debut.
“I hope the fans are ready for a great pennant race,” said Teixeira, a switch-hitting slugger acquired from Texas in a major trade Tuesday. “I know I am.”
“Tex” hit cleanup and went 1-for-4 with a walk, two strikeouts and four RBIs. He did a curtain call after his homer, tipping his helmet from the dugout steps as a crowd of 30,785 gave the former Georgia Tech star a standing ovation.
Teixeira hit 140 homers in his first four major-league seasons, and has 14 in 79 games this season. He picked up his 500th career RBI on a bases-loaded walk in the first inning in his first Braves plate appearance.
Teixeira was the first player to hit a homer in his Braves debut since Jeff Francoeur in his major-league debut July 7, 2005. “They’re ready for you, Tex,” Francoeur said, motioning to a crowd of reporters around the newcomer’s locker.
Teixeira was activated Tuesday after coming from Texas in a trade for five Braves prospects. But he didn’t get into town until midway through Tuesday’s game but didn’t play until Wednesday.
“With all the built-up excitement, I was ready,” he said. “I was ready to play at 10:30 this morning. … First night, big win, scoring a lot of runs — this team’s energized. This is going to be a fun lineup to hit in.”
Left-hander Ron Mahay, who came from Texas in the same trade, pitched a scoreless eighth inning with a walk and a strikeout. Octavio Dotel, a trade acquisition from Kansas City, pitched a perfect ninth with a strikeout.
Teixeira drew a first-inning walk against Wandy Rodriguez, who allowed eight runs in four innings and fell to 1-8 with an 8.16 ERA in 12 road starts. He got his first Braves RBI before his first official at-bat — actually even before his first swing, as Teixeira took the first seven pitches from Rodriguez (7-10). It was the third consecutive walk after Yunel Escobar’s leadoff double.
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