Major League Baseball roundup
Dodgers 3, Diamondbacks 0
Clayton Kershaw was stringing together dominant, scoreless innings. Cody Bellinger ripped a first-inning homer into the bullpen.
The Los Angeles Dodgers already looked formidable even before their superstars started contributing big moments. Now that all appears well with their veteran ace and cleanup hitter — and with Mookie Betts delivering at the plate and in the field — the seven-time NL West champs seem even stronger in the 60-game sprint that's the 2020 season.
Kershaw threw 5 2/3 sharp innings in his season debut, Bellinger hit his first home run of the season and the Dodgers beat Arizona on Sunday.
“It was fun, I missed it,” Kershaw said. “It was hard to miss opening day and I didn't know how long it would take for my back to get better. It bounced back pretty quick, so I was just thankful to get out there today. Felt good, it was awesome.”
Betts homered and doubled before leaving early because of a finger injury on his left hand. The Dodgers won three times in the four-game series and have taken five of six overall.
Kershaw (1-0) gave up three hits, walked none and struck out six. The three-time Cy Young Award winner was supposed to make his ninth opening day start on July 23 but was scratched hours before the game because of a back injury suffered in the weight room.
In his return, the 32-year-old Kershaw threw 81 pitches. He retired his first 10 batters and his fastball was in the 92-94 mph range.
The left-hander didn’t allow a baserunner until Starling Marte and Christian Walker hit back-to-back singles in the fourth inning. Kershaw retired the next two hitters, fanning Kole Calhoun to end the threat.
“He kept those guys guessing,” manager Dave Roberts said.
Bellinger got a rare day off on Saturday after starting the season with a .139 batting average and no homers through eight games. The rest appeared to do the NL MVP good: He hit a full-count changeup from Merrill Kelly (1-1) into the right field bullpen for a two-run homer in the first.
“I'm sure it was a weight off his shoulders,” Roberts said. “He had the mental day yesterday, then started today off with a two-run homer, which proved to be the difference. ... So I think we're headed in the right direction.”
Said Bellinger: “It felt great. But I know it's going to be grind, it's not going to be easy just because I clicked those two balls.”
Betts hit a home run that splashed into the Chase Field swimming pool beyond the right-center field wall in the fifth inning. He appeared to hurt his finger earlier in the at-bat, and the star right fielder was pulled for a pinch hitter in the seventh. X-rays on Betts were negative.
Kenley Jansen earned his second save with a scoreless ninth. Bellinger secured the final out when he made a difficult running catch in deep center field.
The Diamondbacks came into the game hitting just .199 through nine games and couldn't muster much offense once again, finishing with four singles.
“We’re extremely frustrated right now,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “A day off tomorrow will hopefully recharge our batteries. Our players are obviously not swinging the way they want.”
The Diamondbacks have just two homers through 10 games which is the lowest total in the majors. They've also given up 18 homers, the most in baseball.
Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager was out of the lineup. Manager Dave Roberts said Saturday that Seager has been battling soreness since fouling a ball of his calf on Friday.
Betts was pulled early for the second straight game. Roberts said on Saturday that Betts was also battling sore legs from playing on the D-backs' artificial turf.
Cubs 2, Pirates 1 (11 innings)
Báez singled through a drawn-in infield in the 11th inning, scoring David Bote from third base and giving the Cubs the win.
Bote, who made the last out in the 10th, started the inning on second base as mandated by Major League Baseball’s extra-inning rule for the pandemic-shortened season. He advanced to third on a deep fly to right by Anthony Rizzo and jogged home on Baez’s first career game-ending hit against Cody Ponce (0-1).
Jeremy Jeffress (1-0) worked a scoreless 11th for the win.
The game was delayed 64 minutes by rain before the bottom of the ninth.
Chicago has won 10 straight games against Pittsburgh at Wrigley Field.
Rockies 9, Padres 6
Antonio Senzatela pitched six innings of one-run ball for Colorado, and designated hitter Matt Kemp homered for a second straight game.
The Rockies moved to 6-2, which is tied for the team’s second-best start in franchise history. They began 7-1 in 1995.
A comfortable eight-run lead nearly evaporated for Colorado. The Padres scored four in the eighth and another in the ninth to make it 9-6. With two outs and a runner on second, the Rockies called in Jairo Diaz, who got Manny Machado to fly out on the first pitch for his first save of the season.
Senzatela (2-0) struck out six to help the Rockies take two of three from the Padres.
San Diego's Zach Davies (1-1) allowed three runs over five innings.
Astros 6, Angels 5 (11 innings)
Alex Bregman hit an RBI single in the 11th inning, helping Houston rally for the win.
Bregman also homered, and Josh Reddick delivered the tying RBI single in the ninth as the Astros took two of three at Angel Stadium. Blake Taylor (1-0) retired Brian Goodwin on a soft fly to center with the bases loaded to end it.
Albert Pujols hit a grand slam for the Angels, who got another rocky start from Shohei Ohtani in his first home mound appearance since June 2018. Jacob Barnes (0-2) got the loss.
Orioles 5, Rays 1
Hanser Alberto doubled in the tiebreaking run in the seventh inning, Renato Núñez and Pat Valaika homered, and Baltimore beat Tampa Bay to complete a three-game sweep.
After the final out, the Orioles celebrated (with proper social distancing) their first series sweep since Aug. 27-29, 2018, against Toronto, and first against Tampa Bay since 2016.
Brandon Lowe homered for the Rays, who have dropped five straight to fall two games under .500 (4-6) for the first time since June 28, 2018 (39-41). Jalen Beeks (0-1) was charged with the loss.
Evan Phillips (1-0) pitched the seventh to earn his first major league win, and Cole Sulser picked up his third save as part of a Baltimore bullpen that held the Rays hitless over four innings.
White Sox 9, Royals 2
White Sox prospect Nick Madrigal had the first four hits of his promising big league career, including two during a seven-run seventh inning, and Chicago finished a three-game sweep.
Yasmani Grandal added three RBIs for the White Sox in support of right-hander Dylan Cease (1-1), who gave up a homer to Alex Gordon in the third inning but otherwise steered clear of trouble.
Scott Barlow (1-1) took the loss for the Royals on a second straight terrible outing by their bullpen.
Twins 3, Indians 1
Mitch Garver hit his first home run of the season and Minnesota used its bullpen to string together a two-hitter, taking the four-game series from its primary division competitor.
Max Kepler doubled and scored in each of his first two at-bats, and Jorge Polanco and Nelson Cruz drove him in with singles in the first and third. Garver, who had a career-high 31 homers in 2019, went deep in the second as the Twins built a 3-0 lead against Aaron Civale (1-1).
The defending AL Central champions allowed four runs in the four-game set against the Indians, winning three of them to raise their record to 7-2.
Devin Smeltzer (1-0) worked 2 2/3 innings for the win.
Athletics 3, Mariners 2
Ramon Laureano broke out of a slump with a three-run homer, and Chris Bassitt became the first Oakland starter to earn a victory this season.
Laureano’s two-out drive in the fifth snapped a string of 23 1/3 innings by Mariners starters without allowing an earned run and helped the A’s win their second game in a row after a three-game losing streak.
Bassitt (1-0) struck out seven while working 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball. Liam Hendriks got three outs for his third save.
Seattle's Kendall Graveman (0-2) was charged with two runs and three hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Reds 4, Tigers 3 (Game 1)
Reds 4, Tigers 0 (Game 2)
Trevor Bauer struck out seven in a two-hitter, giving the Reds a sweep of Major League Baseball’s first seven-inning doubleheader.
Shogo Akiyama hit an RBI single in the top of the seventh that sent the Reds to the victory in the opener.
MLB recently decided to use doubleheaders of seven-inning games, which have been commonplace in the minor leagues and colleges, to help teams alleviate an expected crush of twinbills caused by weather and coronavirus-related postponements.
Bauer (1-0) threw 111 pitches. Detroit starter Daniel Norris (0-1) allowed two runs and four hits in 1 2/3 innings.
Nick Castellanos homered twice and drove in three runs for Cincinnati in the opener against his former team. But his three-base error in right field with the bases loaded in the sixth allowed Detroit to tie the game.
Reliever Tyler Alexander had kept the Tigers in it by striking out the first nine batters he faced, tying the American League record for consecutive strikeouts. His streak ended in the top of the sixth, one short of Tom Seaver’s major league record, when he hit Mike Moustakas with a 1-2 pitch. Moustakas left the game with a forearm injury.
Raisel Iglesias (1-1) got the win in the opener. Joe Jimenez (0-1) was charged with the loss.
Rangers 9, Giants 5
Joey Gallo hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning, helping the Rangers avoid a three-game sweep.
Shin-Soo Choo also went deep for Texas. Scott Heineman had a pair of hits, including a two-run double, and Jeff Mathis added an RBI single.
Evan Longoria and Chadwick Tromp homered for San Francisco. Tromp’s was the first of his career, Hunter Pence tripled to snap a season-opening 0-for-23 funk.
Jonathan Hernandez (2-0) pitched two scoreless innings for the win. Andrew Triggs (0-1) got the loss, walking three consecutive batters on 14 pitches to open the seventh.
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