Power surge! Dodgers hit eight homers in opening rout
Published 12:00 am Friday, March 29, 2019
By Greg Beacham
AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Joc Pederson and Enrique Hernandez each hit two of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ eight home runs, which set a major league record for opening day and tied the franchise mark for any game, during a 12-5 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday.
Hernandez, Austin Barnes and Corey Seager all homered in the fourth inning to chase Arizona ace Zack Greinke.
Max Muncy, Cody Bellinger and Hernandez then connected in the seventh for the power-packed Dodgers, whose pursuit of a third straight National League pennant got off to a thrilling start.
Adam Jones and Christian Walker went deep for the Diamondbacks, but their pitching staff’s eight homers allowed also set a team record.
The Dodgers broke baseball’s previous opening day record of six homers, set by the Mets in 1988 and matched by the White Sox in 2008.
Los Angeles also equaled the franchise mark set against Milwaukee on May 23, 2002, when Shawn Green hit four of the Dodgers’ eight.
The Dodgers finished second in the majors last season with 235 homers, and they were even more potent in their first regular-season game under new hitting coach Robert Van Scoyoc. All eight dingers were hit by returning players to the Dodgers, who have only two new position players on their opening day roster.
The Dodgers provided ample support for Hyun-Jin Ryu, who yielded four hits and struck out eight over six stellar innings as Los Angeles’ first opening day starter not named Clayton Kershaw since 2010. Kershaw’s franchise-record streak of eight consecutive opening day starts ended due to left shoulder inflammation.
Ryu, who retired 13 straight during one stretch, became the second Korean-born pitcher to start on opening day in the majors.
Meanwhile, Greinke’s latest return to Dodger Stadium was a debacle.
The $206.5 million right-hander allowed four homers for the fifth time in his career, but only the second time this decade. The Dodgers also hit four against their former star on Sept. 5, 2016, in Chavez Ravine, where Greinke has allowed 14 homers in 34 innings since his big-money move to Arizona.
Arizona reliever Matt Koch allowed the Dodgers’ other four homers over a seven-batter stretch in the sixth and seventh, abruptly toppling the majors’ opening day power record.
Seager was back in the Dodgers’ lineup for the first time since missing nearly all of last season due to Tommy John surgery.
BREWERS 5, CARDINALS 4
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Center fielder Lorenzo Cain soared above the wall to rob Jose Martinez of a tying home run for the final out, lifting Christian Yelich and the Milwaukee Brewers over St. Louis.
Yelich got right back to work after winning the NL MVP award last season, putting Milwaukee ahead to stay with a three-run homer off Miles Mikolas (0-1) in the third.
METS 2, NATIONALS 0
WASHINGTON (AP) — Robinson Cano homered in his first at-bat for the Mets and added a late RBI single, Jacob deGrom outpitched Max Scherzer as each struck out at least 10 in a sterling matchup between the winners of the past three NL Cy Young Awards, and New York edged the Bryce Harper-less Washington Nationals.
MARINERS 12, RED SOX 4
SEATTLE (AP) — Tim Beckham hit two of Seattle’s three home runs off Boston ace Chris Sale, and the Mariners improved to 3-0 with a victory over the defending World Series champions.
The Mariners followed up their two wins against Oakland last week in Japan by rattling Sale (0-1) and knocking out the lefty that had dominated Seattle in the past. Sale was done after just three innings, while the Mariners were just getting started on their big offensive day.
YANKEES 7, ORIOLES 2
NEW YORK (AP) — Luke Voit hit a first-inning homer, Masahiro Tanaka finally got an opening day victory in his fourth try and New York started the season with a win over Baltimore.
ASTROS 5, RAYS 1
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Justin Verlander outpitched Blake Snell in a rare opening day matchup between a reigning Cy Young Award winner and runner-up, helping Houston begin the season with a victory over Tampa Bay.
CUBS 12, RANGERS 4
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Javier Baez homered twice, Jon Lester won for the first time in his last five opening day starts and Chicago spoiled the debut of new Texas manager Chris Woodward.
Kris Bryant added a two-run shot for the Cubs, opening their fifth season under manager Joe Maddon after four playoff appearances in a row that included the 2016 World Series title.
ATHLETICS 4, ANGELS 0
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Reigning home run champion Khris Davis went deep for the second time this season, Marcus Semien added a solo shot and Oakland blanked Los Angeles for its first win after a pair of losses to Seattle last week in Japan.
TWINS 2, INDIANS 0
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota newcomer Marwin Gonzalez hit a two-run double in the seventh inning, Jose Berrios outpitched Corey Kluber and the Twins gave manager Rocco Baldelli a victory in his debut against Cleveland.
ROCKIES 6, MARLINS 3
MIAMI (AP) — Kyle Freeland allowed two hits and one run over seven innings in his first opening day start as Colorado beat the sloppy Miami Marlins.
REDS 5, PIRATES 3
CINCINNATI (AP) — Pinch-hitter Derek Dietrich connected for a three-run homer in the seventh inning and the new-look Cincinnati Reds rallied past Pittsburgh.
PADRES 2, GIANTS 0
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Manny Machado went hitless in his first game with San Diego but Fernando Tatis Jr. singled twice in his big league debut against San Francisco.
Wil Myers homered off Madison Bumgarner and added an RBI single in the start of a new era for the Padres, who popped above .500 for the first time since June 8, 2015.
The Padres signaled their intentions to move beyond the rebuilding stage when they signed Machado to a $300 million, 10-year contract early in spring training. Then they promoted Tatis, whose father played in the big leagues for parts of 11 seasons, giving fans some hope after years of futility. San Diego hasn’t had a winning season since 2010.
Tatis became the youngest player with a multihit game on opening day since Milwaukee’s Robin Yount in 1975.
Eric Lauer (1-0) threw six innings of four-hit ball. Bumgarner (0-1) struck out nine while allowing two runs and five hits in seven innings.
Kirby Yates pitched the ninth for a save.
It was the beginning of the end for Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who announced in spring training that he will retire at the end of this season, his 25th as a big league manager.
ROYALS 5, WHITE SOX 3
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Brad Keller pitched two-hit ball over seven shutout innings, Adalberto Mondesi tripled twice and Kansas Royals held off Chicago after the start of their season opener was delayed nearly two hours by rain.
Eloy Jimenez went 0 for 3 with an RBI in his major league debut for the White Sox after signing a $43 million, six-year contract — a record high for a player under club control yet to appear in a big league game. The 22-year-old outfielder was nicked on the left toe by a pitch with the bases loaded in a three-run ninth.
With the sacks full again, Brad Boxberger retired Yolmer Sanchez on a line drive to deep right field to earn a save in his Kansas City debut.
Jorge Soler drove in two runs and Whit Merrifield scored twice for the speedy Royals. Merrifield extended his hitting streak to 21 games dating to last season and stole two bases — he led the majors with 45 steals a year ago.
Keller (1-0) struck out five and walked one to help the Royals improve to 18-33 on opening day.
Carlos Rodon (0-1) was charged with three runs — two earned — and three hits in 5 1/3 innings.
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