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MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - APRIL 29: Manny Machado #13 of the San Diego Padres talks with teammates in the dugout after hitting a solo homerun during the fifth inning of the MLB World Tour Mexico City Series against the San Francisco Giants at Alfredo Harp Helú Stadium on April 29, 2023 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Mexico City Series opened with home run fiesta

Xander Bogaerts adds another country to his home run passport

MEXICO CITY – There’s never a dull day in the Mexican capital. Saturday afternoon had an even greater buzz, though, thanks to the Mexico City Series.

Xander Bogaerts, the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants set off a true Mexico City fiesta.

America’s pastime broke through the noise in the hustle and bustle of the giant metropolis of 22 million when Major League Baseball returned to Mexico City for a historic two-game series. 

Fans at Alfred Harp Helu Stadium were treated to a home run derby for the ages.

Otra! Otra! Otra!” the crowd chanted, requesting “Another! Another! Another!”

The chant of the evening for the 20,000 strong was “Otra! Otra! Otra!” Mexican fans pleaded for one more. Manny Machado, the Padres and Giants gave the crowd what they came to see, major league slams.

Mexico City magic

High altitude 7,200 feet above sea level was a perfect ingredient for a power display. Balls soared through the thin air.

The teams combined for 11 homers, falling just two shy of the MLB record of 13 set in 2019 by the D-backs and Phillies. San Diego won the Mexico City Series opener, 16-11. The Giants had to settle for winning the “Home Run Derby” portion, 6-5.

Bogaerts made history in the fourth inning when he became the first player in MLB history to homer in four different countries. The All-Star shortstop has now homered in the United States, Canada, England and Mexico.

The Friars look to use the home run fiesta to recover from their slow start. Nelson Cruz would like to see the offensive barrage and overall fun win in Mexico City help get things right on the field.

“Yeah, it was crazy,” Cruz said. “One of the craziest ones. The good thing is we got the victory. There were a lot of good things like the guys coming out swinging. 

“Hopefully that’s a wakeup call for us and we continue to be this type of offense and hopefully we can continue from now on.”

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Baseball is superstitious. Machado likes the idea of taking the charro sombrero back across the border. 

“We win tomorrow, it’s probably coming with us,” Machado said.

The Dominican American superstar appeared at home in Mexico City. 

‘Big spark’

He had two home runs, a double, two walks, three RBIs, four runs and a stolen base.

“We do stuff, and this was a big spark for us,” Machado said. “And hopefully it’s a spark for us. We’ve been struggling a little bit, and this past week we’ve been clicking a bit as a team and maybe this was it.”

On a comfortable 81-degree day in the big city, the stage was set for a baseball fiesta for the ages. Players and the crowd at Alfredo Harp Helu did not disappoint.

They were amped from the player introductions to the anthems and pitch by pitch. Fans here clearly knew they were a part of history at the first MLB regular season games in Mexico City.

Cielito Lindo and more

Every big play and homer was celebrated by a well spread-out fan base for both squads. Perhaps the most symbolic moment of the evening was when the guest mariachi sang a terrific rendition of “Cielito Lindo.”

The entire ballpark belched out the famous, “Ay y Ay, ay, ay, ay, canta y no llores.”

Not long after, the entire ballpark sang Cristian Nodal’s “Adios Amor.” The atmosphere was worthy of the big leagues.

It was a great day for MLB, Mexico and Mexico City. As they say here in the motherland, “que siga la fiesta.” Let the party continue.

Lucky for us, we have the recalentado at around 2 p.m. Recalentado is the day-after the party, usually on Sundays. Vamos!

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