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Cardinals welcome back Pujols with opening rout of Pirates

April 8, 2022 GMT
St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols, left, and Yadier Molina celebrate a 9-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in a baseball game Thursday, April 7, 2022, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols, left, and Yadier Molina celebrate a 9-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in a baseball game Thursday, April 7, 2022, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols, left, and Yadier Molina celebrate a 9-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in a baseball game Thursday, April 7, 2022, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols, left, and Yadier Molina celebrate a 9-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in a baseball game Thursday, April 7, 2022, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
1 of 3
St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols, left, and Yadier Molina celebrate a 9-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in a baseball game Thursday, April 7, 2022, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Adam Wainwright (1-0) pitched six scoreless innings, Tyler O’Neill hit a three-run homer and drove in five, and the St. Louis Cardinals celebrated Albert Pujols’ return with a 9-0 season-opening win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday.

Yadier Molina threw out a runner trying to steal second in the first game of his final big league season, and Nolan Arenado and Tommy Edman also homered for the Cardinals, who won the managerial debut of 35-year-old Oliver Marmol. Paul Goldschmidt drew four staight walks, the first player to do that on opening day since Manny Ramírez in 2002.

The Pirates had just six hits and lost budding star Ke’Bryan Hayes to left forearm spasms in the first inning — just hours after news began to spread that Hayes had agreed to a $70 million, eight-year deal. JT Brubaker (0-1) allowed four runs over three innings.

Fans stood and cheered Pujols for nearly a full minute prior to his first at-bat, a flyout to left in the first inning. Pujols, who signed a one-year deal with St. Louis last month, was 0 for 5.

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ASTROS 3, ANGELS 1

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Framber Valdez outpitched Shohei Ohtani with 6 2/3 innings of two-hit ball, and Houston tied the longest opening day winning streak in major league history with a victory over Los Angeles.

Alex Bregman had an early RBI single and a late homer as the Astros won their 10th straight season opener. That matches the mark posted in the late 19th century by the Boston Beaneaters — now the Atlanta Braves.

Valdez (1-0) was dominant in his first career April start, striking out six and yielding one early walk. He retired 15 straight Angels after Matt Duffy’s single in the second.

Ohtani (0-1) struck out nine while pitching one-run ball into the fifth for the Angels, who lost their season opener for the eighth time in nine years. Last season’s AL MVP went 0 for 4 at the plate while taking advantage of baseball’s offseason rule change allowing him to remain the designated hitter after he finishes pitching.

Bregman and Yordan Alvarez both homered off new Angels reliever Ryan Tepera.

Mike Trout went 1 for 4 with a ninth-inning single in the three-time MVP’s first game since missing the final 4 1/2 months of last season with an injured calf.

Ryan Pressly earned the save several hours after agreeing to a $30 million, two-year contract.

METS 5, NATIONALS 1

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mark Canha and Starling Marte — two products of the Mets’ quarter-billion dollar offseason spending spree — drove in runs to back five shutout innings from Tylor Megill, Jacob deGrom’s fill-in as the opening day starter, and New York won manager Buck Showalter’s debut.

The Mets became the first team to get scoreless outings from their starters on opening day in four consecutive seasons. Megill (1-0), a 6-foot-7 right-hander who reached the majors last June, allowed three hits and no walks while striking out six.

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He entered the day with the least amount of time in the majors of any Mets opening day starting pitcher, but drew the assignment because deGrom, a two-time Cy Young Award winner, is injured.

Nationals starter Patrick Corbin (0-1), on the mound for Game 1 because 2019 World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg is returning from surgery, gave up two runs in four-plus innings.

REDS 6, BRAVES 3

ATLANTA (AP) — Tyler Mahle allowed only an unearned run in five innings to outpitch Max Fried, Brandon Drury hit a three-run homer and Cincinnati spoiled Atlanta’s World Series celebration.

The Braves unveiled their World Series pennant in right field in a pregame ceremony after two parachutists landed in the outfield carrying championship banners.

Fried (0-1) allowed five runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. He left the game with two runners on base before Drury’s homer off Collin McHugh, making his Braves debut, landed in the Reds’ bullpen behind the left field wall.

Austin Riley hit a two-run homer for Atlanta off right-hander Dauri Moreta in the eighth.

Mahle (1-0) was sharp in his first opening day start, allowing only three hits with two walks and seven strikeouts. Tony Santillan pitched a perfect ninth to earn his first career save.

ROYALS 3, GUARDIANS 1

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Bobby Witt Jr. capped his highly anticipated big league debut with his first hit, a go-ahead double with two outs in the eighth inning, sending Kansas City over rechristened Cleveland.

Andrew Benintendi drove in Witt after his clutch hit, giving Royals reliever Scott Barlow (1-0) a cushion. After a perfect eighth, Barlow struck out Myles Straw with runners on the corners in the ninth to end it.

In a matchup of former Cy Young Award winners, Cleveland ace Shane Bieber and erstwhile Royals star Zach Greinke dueled to a 1-all stalemate before turning the game over to the bullpens on a cold day at Kauffman Stadium.

It remained tied until the eighth, when the Royals’ Michael Taylor worked a walk off Triston McKenzie (0-1) and then took second on Nicky Lopez’s sacrifice bunt. McKenzie struck out Whit Merrifield before Witt, regarded by many as the No. 1 prospect in the game, roped a double down the left-field line to give Kansas City its first lead.

CUBS 5, BREWERS 4

CHICAGO (AP) — Ian Happ had three hits, including a tiebreaking two-run double in the seventh inning, and Chicago beat Milwaukee.

Nico Hoerner hit the majors’ first homer of 2022 and Kyle Hendricks pitched neatly into the sixth, leading Chicago to the victory on a chilly, overcast afternoon at Wrigley Field. Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki reached three times and scored in his first big league game. Chris Martin (1-0) got two outs for the win in his Cubs debut.

On a day stuffed full of firsts and debuts, Milwaukee ace Corbin Burnes and catcher Omar Narváez became the first battery to use baseball’s new electronic pitch-calling system in a regular-season game. The 2021 NL Cy Young Award winner allowed three runs and four hits in five innings.

Andrew McCutchen, Willy Adames and Rowdy Tellez each had two hits for Milwaukee, and Lorenzo Cain drove in two runs. Aaron Ashby (0-1) got the loss.

DIAMONDBACKS 4, PADRES 2

PHOENIX (AP) — Seth Beer launched a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift Arizona over San Diego.

Beer’s blast off Craig Stammen spoiled a stellar opening day outing by Padres starter Yu Darvish, who fired six no-hit innings before being pulled with a 2-0 lead after 92 pitches.

The Padres lost because of a bullpen meltdown. San Diego took a two-run advantage into the ninth but Robert Suarez (0-1) — who was making his major league debut — walked the first two batters he faced and then hit Carson Kelly with a pitch to load the bases.

Stammen entered and immediately threw a wild pitch that scored Christian Walker. And then Beer, in just his 13th big league at-bat, crushed a breaking ball that gave the Diamondbacks a comeback victory on National Beer Day in the United States.

No joke.

Joe Mantiply (1-0) earned the win with a scoreless ninth.

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