The Associated Press
ST. LOUIS — Jack Flaherty pitched seven solid innings, Paul DeJong hit a two-run homer, and the St. Louis Cardinals opened the season by beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-4 on Friday night.
Tyler O’Neill and Dexter Fowler added solo homers for St. Louis in the first game of an unprecedented 60-game season shortened due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Flaherty, who went 7-2 with an 0.91 ERA over his final 15 regular season starts last year, did not give up a run until Jacob Stallings hit two-out, two-run single just under the glove of first baseman Paul Goldschmidt in the seventh.
St. Louis, which won the NL Central with a 91-71 mark last year, built up a 3-0 cushion on homers by O’Neill in the third and Fowler in the fifth.
Yadier Molina added a run-scoring hit in the sixth.
n Mets 1, Braves 0
NEW YORK — Yoenis Céspedes came back with a bang, taking immediate advantage of the new designated hitter rule in the National League by launching a home run that sent Jacob deGrom and New York past Atlanta.
After five dominant innings from deGrom, who was popping the catcher’s mitt with 99 mph fastballs from the start, Céspedes connected in the seventh off reliever Chris Martin (0-1) for his first long ball since his previous major league game on July 20, 2018.
Seth Lugo (1-0) tossed two innings, pitching out of trouble in the seventh for New York, and Justin Wilson whiffed Ronald Acuna Jr. with a runner in scoring position to end the eighth. Edwin Díaz, who lost his job as closer during a miserable 2019 season, struck out two in a hitless ninth for the save. He worked around a one-out walk, giving rookie manager Luis Rojas a victory in his debut.
Braves All-Star starter Mike Soroka, who won his previous two matchups with deGrom, allowed four hits in six outstanding innings.
n Cubs 3, Brewers 0
CHICAGO — Kyle Hendricks convinced new manager David Ross to let him finish a three-hitter, Anthony Rizzo homered and dished out hand sanitizer, and Chicago started the season by beating Milwaukee.
Ian Happ also had a two-run drive, and Ross got his first victory as a big league manager as the Cubs opened this pandemic-shortened 60-game season without fans at Wrigley Field.
Showing off an improved curveball, Hendricks struck out nine and walked none in his first career opening-day start and fourth career shutout.
Orlando Arcia had each of Milwaukee’s hits off Hendricks (1-0). After he singled with two out in the third for the Brewers’ first baserunner, he accepted a splash of sanitizer from a smiling Rizzo at first and cleaned off his hands.
Ross came out to check on Hendricks with two out and a runner on first in the ninth. He decided to leave him in, and Keston Hiura bounced into a game-ending fielder’s choice on Hendricks’ 103rd pitch.
n Red Sox 13, Orioles 2
BOSTON — For one night at least, Boston didn’t miss Mookie Betts’ bat.
J.D. Martinez and Kevin Pillar each drove in three runs, and the Red Sox rolled past Baltimore.
Jackie Bradley Jr., Jose Peraza, Martinez and Pillar each doubled as part of a four-run third inning. Boston kept it going in the fourth, sending 11 batters to the plate and adding six more runs.
Nathan Eovaldi (1-0) gave up just one run and five hits, striking out four over six innings in his first career opening day start.
n Indians 2, Royals 0
CLEVELAND — Shane Bieber struck out 14 over six scoreless innings as the Indians, making a statement for minorities by wearing their road jerseys with “Cleveland” on the front, beat Kansas City.
Bieber’s 14 strikeouts set a club record for opening day and are the most in the majors in an opener since Hall of Famer Randy Johnson also fanned 14 on March 31, 1996.
Oscar Mercado and César Hernández drove in runs in the fifth for Cleveland, which was blanked over the first four innings by Royals starter Danny Duffy (0-1).
Duffy was pulled in the fifth by first-year Royals manager Mike Matheny after 65 pitches.
The Royals struck out 18 times.
n Blue Jays 6, Rays 4
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Cavan Biggio hit a three-run homer, and Toronto began its still-in-progress odyssey by topping Tampa Bay.
Biggio singled to begin a three-run fourth inning off 36-year-old Charlie Morton (0-1), who made his first career start on opening day. Randal Grichuk, Rowdy Tellez and Teoscar Hernandez drove in the runs. Biggio also homered in the fifth for a 6-1 lead.
Japanese slugger Yoshi Tsutsugo homered in his major league debut for the Rays.
Blue Jays starter Hyun Jin Ryu allowed three runs and four hits in 42/3 innings. He struck out three, but also walked three before being replaced after throwing 97 pitches.
Jordan Romano (1-0) finished fifth and got the first two outs of the sixth to get the win.
n Reds 7, Tigers 1
CINCINNATI — Mike Moustakas drove in four runs in an emphatic first impression, teaming with fellow Cincinnati newcomers Shogo Akiyama and Nick Castellanos to turn the Reds’ long-delayed opener into a victory over Detroit.
The Reds tried to make themselves relevant again by spending $165 million on free agents in the offseason. Moustakas and Castellanos each got $64 million as cornerstones of the rebuild.
They combined to produce Cincinnati’s first three runs, and Moustakas added a two-run homer as the Reds were off and running.
Akiyama, signed as a free agent after a stellar career in Japan, singled home a run in his first at-bat as a pinch hitter. Joey Votto added a solo homer.
Sonny Gray (1-0) fanned nine and gave up three hits in six innings, including C.J. Cron’s homer that clanked around the empty metal bleacher seats in the upper deck. Gray extended his major league record to 34 consecutive starts without allowing more than six hits.
n Rangers 1, Rockies 0
ARLINGTON, Texas — Lance Lynn struck out nine in six sharp innings, and Texas inaugurated its new retractable-roof stadium with a win over Colorado.
After 48 seasons of playing home games outside in the Texas heat, the Rangers had the roof closed for their first game at $1.2 billion Globe Life Field. It was a pleasant 72 degrees at first pitch inside the air-conditioned building — and 94 outside.
The Rangers didn’t get their first hit off Rockies starter German Marquez until after Lynn (1-0) had thrown the last of his 108 pitches in his first opening day start.