Braves’ Garcia homers in opener

The surprising power flashed by Adonis Garcia was one highlight for the Braves in 2015. He was back at it on opening day at Turner Field.

Garcia tied the game with a solo home run against Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer in the fourth inning on Monday. Garcia, hitting fourth in the lineup as the third baseman, fell behind 0-2 in the count before fouling off one pitch and then driving Scherzer’s slider over the left-field wall on a line.

“I was very happy and very grateful for the opportunity to start my very firs opening day,” Garcia said through an interpreter. “I was enthused about that. I was glad to have a good at-bat against a very good pitcher.”

Garcia also delivered the go-ahead RBI in the eighth inning. With the game still tied 2-2 Garcia drew a four-pitch walk from Nationals reliver Shawn Kelley to put the Braves ahead 3-2.

“I was just trying to wait for my pitch,” Garcia said.

In spite of logging only 198 plate appearances as a rookie in 2015, Garcia finished tied for second among Braves with 10 home runs. He hit just 21 home runs over four seasons (1,194 plate appearances) in the minor leagues.

The Braves signed Garcia as a free agent in April 2015 after the Yankees released him. After a hot start at Triple-A Gwinnett, Garcia made his big-league debut last May but only stayed for two days before being sent back down. The Braves recalled him in July and he stayed on the roster for the rest of the season.

Garcia left Cuba in 2011 and signed with the Yankees in May 2012. He will be 31-years old on April 12.