New York (AFP) – The Los Angeles Dodgers, coming off a second straight World Series disappointment, opened the 2019 Major League Baseball season with a bang on Thursday.
The Dodgers belted a whopping eight home runs in a 12-5 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium to launch their quest for a third National League crown.
The major league season began last week with the Seattle Mariners winning twice over the Oakland A’s in games played at Japan’s Tokyo Dome.
But the six-month campaign began for the other 28 clubs with typical Opening Day-style festivities across several venues, starting with the New York Yankees‘ 7-2 win over Baltimore in New York and the New York Mets’ 2-0 win at Washington.
In Los Angeles, Joc Pederson hit two home runs and a double. Enrique Hernandez also hit two homers, Diamondbacks ace pitcher Zack Greinke was chased after 3 2/3 innings. The eight home runs tied a franchise record set in May 2002. No team has ever hit more on opening day.
“It’s pretty crazy,” Pederson said. “Whenever it’s working together like that, it’s an exciting day out there. We all have high expectations.”
The onslaught more than backed starting pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin. The South Korean left-hander limited the Diamondbacks to one run on four hits in six innings. He struck out eight and didn’t walk a batter.
Meanwhile the Boston Red Sox, who vanquished the Dodgers in the World Series last season, fell 12-4 to the Mariners in Seattle.
Seattle’s new shortstop Tim Beckham smacked a pair of home runs in his first two at-bats off Boston ace Chris Sale.
The Mariners totaled five home runs, with Edwin Encarnacion, Domingo Santana and Ryon Healy also going deep. Along with their wins in Japan, the Mariners have opened their season with three straight wins for just the fourth time in franchise history.
Luke Voit and Robinson Cano smashed first-inning home runs to power victories by the Yankees and Mets.
Mets second baseman Cano smacked a homer off Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer in his first time at bat for the visiting Mets.
Cano, in his first season with a National League club after 14 years with the Yankees and Seattle, also hit a run-scoring single to left field in the eighth inning to create the final margin.
The game was the first in the major leagues in 40 years with a prior year Cy Young Award winner facing the runner-up as mound rivals in a season opener, with Scherzer losing to New York’s Jacob deGrom, who unseated him for the National League award in 2018.
In New York, Yankees designated hitter Voit blasted a three-run homer in the first inning to ignite the Yankees offense.
– Harper hitless –
Japan’s Masahiro Tanaka took the victory for the Yankees, pitching 5 2/3 innings with five strikeouts while scattering six hits with no walks and only two runs allowed.
The loss ended what had been the longest active win streak in openers as Baltimore had taken eight in a row.
In Philadelphia, new signing Bryce Harper was hitless in his Phillies debut but fans went home happy with a 10-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves.
Maikel Franco crushed a three-run homer in the sixth inning that put Philadelphia up 6-1, and after Harper was intentionally walked in the seventh, cleanup hitter Rhys Hoskins made them pay with his first career grand slam.