Infante first Marlin to set off home run sculpture

Infante first Marlin to set off home run sculpture

Infante first Marlin to set off home run sculpture
MIAMI -- Omar Infante's second-inning home run on Sunday made Marlins history.

The second baseman hit the first Marlins home run at Marlins Park. The solo shot set off the 75-foot home run sculpture beyond the left-field fence for the first time, and it gave Miami a 1-0 lead over Houston.

"From the moment I hit the ball, I knew it was going to go out," Infante said. "I'm very happy to hit our first home run here."

Infante, who has a team-high four home runs on the season, sent a 1-0 fastball from Astros starter J.A. Happ into the Clevelander seats beyond the left-field fence. That is where 32-year-old Doug Grey from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., became the lucky fan to catch the historic homer.

Fans roared when Infante's ball cleared the fence, and the 34,232 people in attendance were able to witness the home run sculpture in action for the first time. Many Marlins also looked to see what the sculpture would do, but one missed the jumping marlins and flashing lights.

"[Emilio] Bonifacio asked me if I saw the marlins and the water, but I told him I didn't, I was just focused on running," Infante said.

The Marlins had a friendly wager in the clubhouse where players tried to guess who would be the first to homer at their new ballpark. Giancarlo Stanton, Hanley Ramirez, Logan Morrison and Gaby Sanchez were all popular choices, but it was Infante who came away the winner.

"Nobody picked me," Infante said. "I told Bonifacio, 'I won the bet, because I hit the home run.'"

Infante has been the Marlins' hottest hitter so far this season. Along with hitting the first home run by a Marlin at Marlins Park, he hit the first home run of the season by a Miami hitter. That blast came on April 7 in Cincinnati against Reds starter Mat Latos.

Infante's home run came in the 31st inning played at Marlins Park. Ramirez joined Infante when he crushed a game-tying, two-run shot to center field in the eighth inning.

"I like the idea that it went off today quickly," Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said. "The first one was a solo home run, and then Hanley hit the two-run homer. It could have gone off a third time. That would have made me happy too, but I'll take it twice a night."

Prior to Sunday's game, several Marlins had hit balls that looked like they had a chance to clear the fence, but none had been able to successfully homer at their new ballpark.

Astros outfielder J.D. Martinez became the first player to homer at Marlins Park when he hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning of Friday's 5-4 Marlins victory.

David Villavicencio is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.