FARGO — While second baseman Carlos Garcia was a fresh face to the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks lineup Saturday afternoon, he was a known commodity to manager Jim Bennett.
Bennett watched Garcia play when he was in the San Francisco Giants organization during the same time his son, T.J. Bennett, was also with the Giants.
"I've seen Carlos play. I knew what we were getting with Carlos," Jim Bennett said. "He can defend anywhere in the infield for you and he's a professional hitter. This guy, he can swing the bat."
Garcia delivered in his first game with the RedHawks. He keyed an eight-run sixth inning with an RBI double and an RBI triple. That big inning vaulted F-M to a 14-6 victory against the Sioux Falls Canaries in American Association baseball before 2,685 fans at Newman Outdoor Field.
"It's always good to give a good first impression, especially with a new team, especially with people that have given you the opportunity to come here and do what you like to do," said Garcia, who went 2-for-5 with two RBIs and scored a run.
The RedHawks (56-29) have won six consecutive games and have the best record in the American Association with 15 games remaining in their regular season. They lead the North Division over the St. Paul Saints. The top two teams in each division earn a spot in the league playoffs.
Coincidentally, Garcia is taking over at second base for T.J. Bennett, who played his last game with the RedHawks on Friday. T.J. retired from baseball as he has accepted an assistant baseball coaching job at Illinois State. Garcia was signed prior to Saturday's game and already feels comfortable around his new teammates.
"They made me feel like family, I think that is key," Garcia said.
Garcia wasn't the only new face in the F-M lineup Saturday. Rookie outfielder Alex Boxwell started in left field and hit seventh in the batting order. Boxwell, who played at the University of Minnesota, went 3-for-4 with an RBI and scored three runs.
Boxwell had played three games with Gary SouthShore earlier this season. The RedHawks activated Boxwell prior to Friday's game. Boxwell was in the lineup Saturday to give Brennan Metzger a day off.
"He's a baseball player," Jim Bennett said of Boxwell. "When I saw him play against us when he was in Gary, that's a good-looking athlete who has a feel for hitting. He can run and he can throw."
Sioux Falls had a 4-2 lead entering the bottom of the sixth inning Saturday. Garcia's RBI double scored Tim Colwell to spark the eight-run frame. Devan Ahart followed with an RBI single that tied the game at 4-4.
RedHawks first baseman Correlle Prime struck the big blow moments later, with a three-run blast over the wall in right field that gave F-M a 7-4 lead. Garcia capped the inning with an RBI triple that gave the RedHawks a 10-4 lead.
"I'm a big believer in Garcia," Jim Bennett said. "I knew how he would fit in with our club and he's shown that right away."
The RedHawks added four more runs in the seventh inning to build a 14-4 lead. Five different F-M players had at least two RBIs, including shortstop Yhoxian Medina, who belted a two-run home run in the third inning.
"You've got to give a lot of the credit to the guys who were already here because they accept the (new) guys and these guys are fitting right in," Jim Bennett said.
The RedHawks are scheduled to play Gary SouthShore at 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18, to start a three-game series at Newman.
Garcia said he's glad to join a team that is closing in on spot in the American Association playoffs.
"That's a plus," Garcia said. "It gives you like a little extra. It gives you a little more energy."