ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- It wasn't just another night at the ballpark for the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers, who can't stop thinking about everyone back home affected by Hurricane Harvey.
The stands at Tropicana Field were mostly empty, the "home" team dressed in the visitors clubhouse, and the "road" team wore white uniforms they usually wear at home.
The three-game series that concludes Thursday was moved from Minute Maid Park because of flooding in the Houston area, with the Astros serving as the home team after the Rangers declined a proposal to play the games in Arlington, Texas.
"I thought both teams kind of handled the situation, getting on a plane and flying over here and really getting set up to play a baseball game," manager Jeff Banister said after the Rangers opened a series moved 1,000 miles to St. Petersburg, Florida, with a 12-2 victory in front of an announced crowd of 3,485.
Shin-Soo Choo homered and drove in four runs, backing the strong pitching of Martin Perez, ironically helping Texas move ahead of Tampa Bay in the AL wild-card standings while playing in the Rays' ballpark.
Adrian Beltre of the Rangers drove in three runs to pass Hall of Famer Ernie Banks for 28th on the career RBI list with 1,637 while Joey Gallo hit a two-run homer off Mike Fiers (8-9).
"We were really motivated to do well for Houston, but looking on the TV with Houston half under water is kind of hard," Astros third baseman J.D. Davis, who also pitched an inning, said.
"We played hard. We just came up short. Good for the Rangers," Davis added. "They had three big innings. There's nothing much you can do. It's just baseball."
It's only the fourth time in major league history that games have been relocated to neutral sites because of weather.
The Astros were involved as well in 2008, when two scheduled home games against the Chicago Cubs were moved to Milwaukee because of Hurricane Ike.
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