Greinke wins Dodgers debut, 3-0 over Pirates


Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — Not too bad, as far as first impressions go.

Zack Greinke pitched two-hit ball into the seventh inning of his splendid Dodgers debut, leading Los Angeles to a 3-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.

Andre Ethier homered and Los Angeles got RBI doubles from Matt Kemp and Adrian Gonzalez. Greinke, who signed a $147 million, six-year contract to join the Dodgers during the offseason, struck out six and did not walk a batter in 6 1-3 innings.

“First impressions are important,” Greinke said. “But I’m just trying to get one out at a time. No matter who it is, they’re the most important batter at the moment. That’s kind of what I do, and hopefully everything takes care of itself.”

Before the game, even Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he hadn’t seen Greinke much.

The right-hander was on a limited pitch count after throwing only 13 innings during spring training, but he made his 92 pitches count Friday and showed why he was in such high demand last winter.

“He was able to spot the fastball, threw the cutter, threw the two-seamer, four-seamer, the velocity was firm, and his slider was a good pitch,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “He threw two or three 3-2 breaking balls to keep you off the fastball. A handful of breaking balls that are 72-74 mph.

“It was a tremendous show of control, and controlling bat speed. All those three-ball counts, (but) we couldn’t push him over the edge.”

Greinke yielded just a two-out single to Garrett Jones in the second inning and a one-out single to Andrew McCutchen in the seventh.

The 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner said his first start for a new team didn’t bring any added pressure, and he just did what he normally does.

“I think it’s rare to have that kind of touch with his breaking stuff. He was pretty amazing, really,” Mattingly said. “He was like Felix (Hernandez). I’ve seen both those guys pitch when they were 19 and both of them had great command early, and great touch with their off-speed stuff early, and you don’t see that.”

Besides Greinke getting his first victory in his first Dodgers start, there were other firsts for Los Angeles. Ethier hit his first home run of the year, Kemp got his first hit and Gonzalez had his first RBI.

For Kemp, his RBI double in the sixth off Pirates starter Jonathan Sanchez (0-1) not only increased the lead to 2-0, it also ended an 0-for-12 start to the season.

“I’m excited about that one,” Kemp said. “There’s more to come though, there’s more to come.”

Immediately after Kemp’s double, Gonzalez doubled into the right-field corner to give the Dodgers a 3-0 lead and knock Sanchez out of the game.

Greinke (1-0) began his Dodgers career by retiring the first five batters he faced. With two outs in the second, he gave up a hard one-hopper by Jones that second baseman Mark Ellis couldn’t handle. The play was ruled a hit.

Greinke responded by setting down the next 14 hitters until McCutchen lined a single to center in the seventh. Mattingly swiftly made his way to the mound to take the ball from Greinke, who missed a couple of spring starts because of inflammation in his elbow and the flu.

“That’s as far as he’s been,” Mattingly said. “We wanted him to be below 100 (pitches). That was a fairly long inning there when we scored and you could tell he wasn’t quite as sharp.”

Greinke got some help from his defense, particularly shortstop Justin Sellers in the fifth. Sellers robbed Jones of a hit with a diving, backhand stab of a sharp grounder, bouncing up and throwing to first.

Brandon League pitched the ninth for his first save of the season, completing the two-hitter.

Sanchez was no stranger to the Dodgers, pitching against them for the 18th time in his career. All 17 previous appearances came with the Giants.

Like Greinke, Sanchez retired his first five hitters. But the sixth batter in the lineup, Ethier, drove a 2-2 pitch into the right-field bleachers.

Los Angeles broke through again in the sixth. After Mark Ellis’ leadoff walk, Kemp and Gonzalez had back-to-back doubles to give the Dodgers a 3-0 lead, ending the night for Sanchez. He went five-plus innings, allowing three runs and six hits.

After Greinke came out in the seventh, Paco Rodriguez, Kenley Jansen and League combined to hold the Pirates hitless for the final 2 2-3 innings.

GIANTS 1, CARDINALS

SAN FRANCISCO — Barry Zito pitched another gem against the St. Louis Cardinals, leading the San Francisco Giants to a 1-0 victory in their home opener Friday.

The Giants celebrated their latest World Series title throughout the day. Of course, it was Zito who saved San Francisco’s season by beating the Cardinals 5-0 last fall in Game 5 of the NL championship series.

This time, Zito outdueled Jake Westbrook (0-1) in his season debut. The lefty also had a key sacrifice bunt that led to San Francisco’s run in the fourth, when Angel Pagan drew a bases-loaded walk.

The Giants won their 15th straight game with Zito on the mound, including the postseason. He hasn’t lost since Aug. 2 against the New York Mets.

Zito (1-0) blanked the Cardinals on three hits through the seventh. San Francisco’s starters have gone 26 innings without allowing an earned run so far.

Jeremy Affeldt pitched a 1-2-3 eighth and Sergio Romo closed out the three-hitter with a clean ninth for his third save.

Fresh off San Francisco’s second title in three years, manager Bruce Bochy carried the World Series trophy out from an entrance in center field as the first Giant announced to the sellout crowd of 41,581.

REDS 15, NATIONALS 0

CINCINNATI — Todd Frazier and Zack Cozart each hit two of Cincinnati’s six home runs, including a grand slam by pinch-hitter Xavier Paul, as the Reds sent Washington to its first loss of the season.

It was the Nationals’ most lopsided loss since baseball returned to Washington in 2005, topping a 15-1 defeat to Detroit on June 19, 2007, according to STATS. Washington had been the last major league team without a loss this season.

Dan Haren (0-1) had a rough time in his Nationals debut, giving up four homers and six runs in four innings.

Homer Bailey (1-0) allowed two hits in six scoreless innings. The right-hander hasn’t allowed a run in his last 19 regular-season innings, a streak that includes his no-hitter in Pittsburgh on Sept. 28.

BRAVES 4, CUBS 1

ATLANTA — Justin Upton hit his third homer in four games and Mike Minor pitched into the eighth inning to help Atlanta beat Chicago.

Juan Francisco had a two-run single and Minor (1-0) won his first start of the season, allowing one run and five hits in 7 1-3 innings. He walked none and struck out seven.

Eric O’Flaherty got two outs in the eighth and Craig Kimbrel threw eight pitches in a perfect ninth for his second save.

Making his Cubs debut, Scott Feldman (0-1) threw two wild pitches, hit a batter and had a fielding error when he missed the bag in an attempt to cover first base. Feldman gave up four runs, five hits and four walks in 4 2-3 innings.

Upton also had a sacrifice fly.

MARLINS 7, METS 5

NEW YORK — Alex Sanabia won for the first time in more than two years and Miami gave Mike Redmond his first victory as a major league manager by beating New York.

The Marlins began the day 0-3 and were the only team in the majors without a win.

Sanabia (1-0) had been absent from the majors since late in the 2011 season. He pitched six shutout innings, working around six hits, three walks and a hit batter.

Miami took advantage of shortstop Ruben Tejada’s error to score five runs in the seventh for a 6-0 lead. The Mets rallied and brought the potential tying run to the plate a couple of times, but couldn’t catch the Marlins.

Greg Dobbs’ homer off Jeremy Hefner (0-1) leading off the second gave the Marlins their first lead of the season — and only their second run overall. Miami was 1 for 20 with runners in scoring position before Placido Polanco’s two-run single in the seventh.

DIAMONDBACKS 3, BREWERS 1

MILWAUKEE — Wade Miley and Kyle Lohse were locked in a pitching duel through six innings before Arizona spoiled Lohse’s debut with Milwaukee by scoring two runs on a wild pitch from reliever Michael Gonzalez in the seventh.

Lohse allowed five hits and struck out six. Miley (1-0) gave up five hits and struck out eight, one shy of his career high.

The Diamondbacks went ahead on a hit, three walks, a sacrifice bunt and Gonzalez’s errant pitch.

J.J. Putz pitched the ninth for his first save.

Burke Badenhop (0-1) took the loss.

ROCKIES 5, PADRES 2

DENVER — Wilin Rosario and Dexter Fowler homered to back Jeff Francis as Colorado beat San Diego in a festive home opener at Coors Field.

Francis (1-0) scattered five hits over six sharp innings. The soft-throwing lefty nearly became the first Rockies starter to eclipse the 100-pitch mark in 106 games, but was pulled after striking out Nick Hundley on his 97th offering to finish the sixth.

Rafael Betancourt pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save. Troy Tulowitzki broke a tie with a two-run double in the third.

Jason Marquis (0-1) was cruising along early before a costly error by shortstop Everth Cabrera paved the way to a three-run third for the Rockies. Marquis lasted six innings and gave up five runs, two earned.

INTERLEAGUE

ROYALS 13, PHILLIES 4

PHILADELPHIA — Alex Gordon and Chris Getz each hit a bases-loaded triple, and Kansas City rallied to spoil Philadelphia’s home opener.

The interleague matchup was a rare one between teams that first met in the 1980 World Series — the Royals’ only other visit to Philadelphia came in 2004.

After getting a total of 17 hits in their first three games against the Chicago White Sox, the Royals had 19 against the Phillies. Eric Hosmer was 4 for 5 with three RBIs, and the Royals overcame a 4-0 deficit to surge past Kyle Kendrick (0-1) and the Phillies

Domonic Brown and Erik Kratz hit solo homers for the Phillies, who are off to a 1-3 start.

Bruce Chen (1-0) struck out two in a perfect fifth in relief of Wade Davis to earn the win. Davis allowed four runs and nine hits in four innings in his first start for Kansas City.

Four Royals relievers combined to toss five hitless innings.

Hall of Famers Mike Schmidt and George Brett, rivals when the Phillies beat the Royals to win their first championship 33 years ago, threw out the first pitches.

ARLINGTON, Texas — Ian Kinsler hit a go-ahead single with two outs in the eighth inning and the Texas Rangers gave their fans plenty of reasons to cheer in the home opener, beating Josh Hamilton and the Los Angeles Angels 3-2 Friday.

Hamilton was a five-time All-Star and the 2010 AL MVP with Texas before going to the AL West rival Angels with a $125 million, five-year contract last winter. He finished 0 for 4 and is 1 for 16 this season. The slugger was booed when he was introduced, then cheered when he struck out twice.

Kinsler’s sharp single to right was fielded by Hamilton, who short-hopped a throw to the plate as speedy Craig Gentry slid home for the tiebreaking run.

Tanner Scheppers (1-0) pitched an inning in relief of starter Derek Holland. Joe Nathan worked the ninth for his first save, an inning that started with him retiring Albert Pujols and Hamilton on flyouts.

Gentry reached with a one-out single off Scott Downs (0-2) and stole second base.

TIGERS 8, YANKEES 3

DETROIT — Prince Fielder hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the fifth inning and added a soaring, two-run shot in the seventh to lift Detroit over New York in the Comerica Park opener.

Fielder connected for his first two home runs of the season before a crowd of 45,051, the most on opening day in the 14 years since the ballpark opened.

Doug Fister (1-0) allowed three runs and six hits — including Kevin Youkilis’ two-run homer — over five innings. Drew Smyly struck out five in four perfect innings for his first career save.

Ivan Nova (0-1) gave up four runs and five hits over 4 2-3 innings. Fielder greeted Boone Logan with a three-run shot that put the Tigers up 5-3. Alex Avila homered off Shawn Kelley in the sixth.

The banged-up Yankees took another hit, too. Eduardo Nunez, filling in for injured shortstop Derek Jeter, was hit on his right biceps by Fister’s pitch in the fourth and left the game. X-rays were negative.

ORIOLES 9, TWINS 5

BALTIMORE — Chris Davis extended his torrid start with a grand slam and five RBIs, and the Baltimore Orioles used a five-run eighth inning to beat Minnesota in their home opener.

Davis became the fourth player in major league history to homer in his first four games of the season, joining Willie Mays, Mark McGwire and Nelson Cruz. He is 9 for 15 (.600) with four homers and 16 RBIs.

The Orioles trailed 5-4 before loading the bases with one out in the eighth against Casey Fien (0-1). After Adam Jones tied it with an RBI single, Davis greeted Twins reliever Tyler Robertson with an opposite-field shot to left on the first pitch.

Luis Ayala (1-0) worked 1 2-3 scoreless innings for the Orioles.

Brian Dozier drove in three runs for the Twins.

RED SOX 6, BLUE JAYS 4

TORONTO — Mike Napoli hit a two-run homer and drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, and Boston beat the Blue Jays in manager John Farrell’s return to Toronto.

Will Middlebrooks added a solo shot for the Red Sox and Junichi Tazawa (1-0) got the win despite allowing a tying homer to Jose Reyes in the seventh.

Andrew Bailey pitched the eighth and Joel Hanrahan finished for his second save.

A crowd of 45,328 booed Farrell all night. The former Toronto manager left the Blue Jays last fall to replace Bobby Valentine in Boston.

Reyes went 4 for 5 with two RBIs and Josh Johnson gave up nine hits over six innings in his Toronto debut. Mark DeRosa hit his first home run in three years.

Pinch-hitter Jonny Gomes drew a one-out walk from Esmil Rogers (0-1) in the eighth and went to third on Dustin Pedroia’s double before Napoli followed with a grounder to third.

Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista was held out of the lineup with a sore right ankle.

RAYS 4, INDIANS 0

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Matt Moore pitched six sharp innings and Ben Zobrist drove in three runs to lead Tampa Bay over Cleveland.

Moore (1-0) limited the Indians to a pair of hits by Michael Bourn, walked two and struck out eight. The 23-year-old left-hander retired his final eight batters and was pulled after 100 pitches.

Zobrist, who has driven in a team-leading seven runs in four games, did most of the damage against Zach McAllister (0-1) with a pair of doubles.

Jake McGee and Brandon Gomes each worked a perfect inning for the Rays. Joel Peralta finished the two-hitter with a 1-2-3 ninth.

ATHLETICS 8, ASTROS 3

HOUSTON — Coco Crisp hit a leadoff homer and added two doubles in Oakland’s big fifth inning against Houston.

Crisp sent the fourth pitch of the night over the wall in the right-field corner for his ninth career leadoff homer. Dan Straily (1-0) allowed five hits and struck a career-high 11 in 6 2-3 solid innings.

The Athletics were up 1-0 when Crisp doubled with one out in the fifth to chase Astros starter Brad Peacock (0-1). Crisp’s second double drove in two runs later in the seven-run fifth.

Josh Donaldson added a two-run single in the inning.

MARINERS 8, WHITE SOX 7, 10 INNINGS

CHICAGO — Kendrys Morales hit a tiebreaking double in the 10th inning and Jesus Montero tacked on a run-scoring single to lead Seattle over Chicago.

Franklin Gutierrez sparked the winning rally when he led off with an infield single. He advanced on Michael Saunders’ sacrifice and came home when Morales drove the next pitch from Nate Jones (0-1) down the first-base line.

Montero then singled in pinch-runner Robert Andino as Seattle earned its fourth win in its last 20 games at Chicago dating to the 2008 season. The Mariners have only 11 wins in their last 44 games against the White Sox overall.

Gutierrez also homered and drove in three runs for Seattle, which blew a 6-1 lead on a chilly night at U.S. Cellular Field. Kameron Loe (1-0) pitched a perfect ninth and Tom Wilhelmsen held on for his second save.

Dewayne Wise hit a two-out RBI single for the White Sox in the 10th and Alexei Ramirez walked to load the bases before Tyler Flowers struck out to end it.

Alejandro De Aza and Alex Rios homered for Chicago, which went 8-1 against Seattle last season.

 

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