Bryce Harper homered in his first two at-bats and Stephen Strasburg retired 19 batters in a row at one stretch as defending NL East champions the Washington Nationals opened the season with a 2-0 victory over the Miami Marlins on Monday.
For Strasburg, it marked the start of what should be his first full season in the majors, with zero pitch or inning limits. The All-Star ace was dominant against a trade-depleted Marlins lineup that features Giancarlo Stanton and little else. The right-hander went seven innings, matching his career high, and allowed three hits.
DODGERS 4, GIANTS 0
In Los Angeles, Clayton Kershaw launched his first career home run to break a scoreless tie in the eighth inning, then finished off a four-hitter that led the Los Angeles Dodgers past the San Francisco Giants.
Kershaw became the first pitcher to throw a shutout and hit a home run in an opener since Bob Lemon for Cleveland in 1953, STATS said. Kershaw struck out seven, walked none and retired World Series MVP Pablo Sandoval on a grounder to end it.
Matt Cain made his first career opening day start for the Giants in the loss. He allowed four hits in six scoreless innings, struck out eight and walked one.
METS 11, PADRES 2
In New York, Jonathon Niese stepped nicely into his new role as No. 1 starter for the Mets and Collin Cowgill capped a successful New York debut with a grand slam in a rout of the San Diego Padres.
Handed the opening day assignment in place of injured Johan Santana, Niese enjoyed a big afternoon with both his arm and bat. He breezed into the seventh inning against a Padres lineup missing slugger Chase Headley (broken thumb) and catcher Yasmani Grandal, suspended for the first 50 games after testing positive for testosterone.
Marlon Byrd had a pair of RBI singles and fellow Mets newcomer John Buck was in the middle of three rallies as New York improved baseball’s best opening day record to 34-18, despite dropping their first eight openers.
CUBS 3, PIRATES 1
In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Jeff Samardzija struck out nine in eight nearly flawless innings and the Chicago Cubs held on for a victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The right-hander allowed just two hits and walked one as the Chicago won on opening day for the first time since 2009. Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run homer and Wellington Castillo added an RBI double for the Cubs.
Kyuji Fujikawa got a save in his major league debut after closer Carlos Marmol struggled.
A.J. Burnett, making the first opening day start of his lengthy career, gave up three runs on six hits in 5-2/3 innings, striking out 10.
BREWERS 5, ROCKIES 4
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Jonathan Lucroy hit a sacrifice fly in the 10th inning to give the Milwaukee Brewers a victory over Colorado, ruining the first game for new Rockies manager Walt Weiss.
Rickie Weeks sparked the winning rally when he stole second after he was hit by a pitch with one out. Adam Ottavino then issued an intentional walk to Ryan Braun and lost Aramis Ramirez to another walk, before Lucroy ended the game with a fly ball to center field.
A big “Luuuuuuc” thundered down from the Miller Park crowd of 45,781 as Weeks came home with the winning run and Lucroy was mobbed by his jubilant teammates.
BRAVES 7, PHILLIES 5
In Atlanta, Georgia, Freddie Freeman drove in three runs with three hits, including the first of three Atlanta home runs, as the Braves beat Cole Hamels and the Philadelphia Phillies.