Dodgers 2, Padres 0
Mookie Betts made an outstanding diving catch and Clayton Kershaw starred on the mound and at the plate, helping the Dodgers top San Diego on Saturday night in another compelling thriller between the NL West rivals.
Kershaw (3-1) struck out eight while working six innings of three-hit ball. He also drew a bases-loaded walk against Yu Darvish (1-1) in the fifth, leading Los Angeles to its eighth straight win.
"We knew that this was going to be an emotionally intense (series) obviously coming here," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "It certainly lived up to the billing."
Even with Kershaw's stellar performance, the matchup wasn't decided until Betts turned in another memorable play for the final out.
With runners on second and third, Tommy Pham hit a sinking liner to center that looked as if it was going to tie the game. But Betts got over for a terrific diving grab, and then pounded on his chest in celebration.
"It takes an elite defender in center to make that play. A lot of things have got to line up," Roberts said. "There are just a handful of guys that probably could have made that play. It just speaks to that is why he is arguably the best all-around player in baseball."
Justin Turner, who homered in the ninth for Los Angeles, said Betts saved the game for the World Series champions.
"He is a guy who can change the game and impact the game in so many different ways," Turner said.
Los Angeles also took the series opener Friday night, grabbing the lead for good when Corey Seager hit a tiebreaking two-run homer on Tim Hill's first pitch of the 12th inning.
The second game of the season series was just as good.
Kershaw won his third straight start since losing at Colorado on opening day. Victor Gonzalez got two outs for his first save of the season.
Darvish was terrific for San Diego, allowing one hit in seven innings. He struck out nine and walked two.
Los Angeles grabbed the lead with a two-out rally in the fifth. Zach McKinstry was hit by a pitch, Luke Raley singled and Austin Barnes walked to load the bases.
Kershaw then walked on a full-pitch count, forcing in a run. Darvish's 86-mph cutter was slightly low and outside.
San Diego had runners on the corners with one out in the sixth when Wil Myers hit a sharp grounder up the middle. Second baseman Chris Taylor grabbed the ball, stepped on second and threw to first baseman Max Muncy for a double play to end the inning.
Justin Turner gave the Dodgers an insurance run with a solo drive off Emilio Pagan in the ninth.
Cubs 13, Braves 4
Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras each homered twice, and Chicago won on an afternoon when Atlanta returned Sean Kazmar Jr. to the major leagues for the first time in 13 years.
Javier Báez and David Bote also homered for the Cubs. who stopped a three-game losing streak. Trevor Williams (2-1) allowed one run and four hits in five innings.
Atlanta selected the contract of Kazmar, a 36-year-old infielder, from its alternate training site before the game. He pinch hit in the fifth inning grounded into a 4-6-3 double play. Kazmar had not played in the major leagues since Sept. 23, 2008, with the San Diego Padres.
The gap between big league appearances was the greatest since that of right-hander Ralph Winegarner, according to Elias Sports Bureau. Winegarner played on June 23, 1936, for the Cleveland Indians and did not return to the majors until July 7, 1949, with the St. Louis Browns — a span of 13 years and 14 days.
Hector Ynoa (0-1) gave up six runs and seven hits — including three homers — in four innings.
Nationals 6, Diamondbacks 2
Yan Gomes homered off Luke Weaver (1-1), drove in two runs and became the first major league catcher to throw out Tim Locastro on a steal attempt after 29 consecutive swipes to start his career, and Washington strung together consecutive wins for the first time this season.
Locastro was thrown out making a dive into second base in the third inning and left the game with a dislocated left pinkie finger.
Erick Fedde (1-1) tied his career high with nine strikeouts in five innings for Washington, which is 5-7. He gave up one run and five hits.
Cardinals 9, Phillies 4
Yadier Molina hit two home runs, doubled and drove in four runs, and Nolan Arenado and Paul DeJong also homered for St. Louis.
Ryan Helsley (1-0) allowed a run in 1 2/3 innings of relief to earn the victory. St. Louis won for just the second time in its last seven games, breaking the game open with six runs in the third off Matt Moore (0-1). Moore recorded consecutive outs to start the frame before a two-out barrage.
Rhys Hoskins had three hits and Alec Bohm drove in two runs for the Phillies, who played without Bryce Harper. The Phillies star outfielder sat out after waking up Saturday with tightness in his lower back.
Marlins 7, Giants 6 (10 innings)
Jorge Alfaro hit a game-ending, two-run double, and Miami rallied from two-run deficits in the ninth and 10th innings.
San Francisco led 5-3 before RBI singles in the ninth by Alfaro and Starling Marte off Jake McGee. The closer threw 35 pitches in the inning, retiring Adam Duvall on an inning-ending flyout that stranded the bases loaded.
Brandon Belt's run-scoring double against Yimi García (2-1) put the Giants ahead 6-5 in the 10th.
Jazz Chisholm walked against Jarlin García (0-1) with one out in the bottom half, joining the pandemic-rules automatic runner to give Miami two on. Chad Wallach flied out, and Alfaro lined a double that bounced to the left-field wall.
Brewers 7, Pirates 1
Brett Anderson pitched seven effective innings and Milwaukee built a big lead early and breezed past Pittsburgh.
Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a leadoff single in the first inning and the Brewers went on to score five times, with every run coming with two outs. Bradley, who had three hits, tripled and scored in the second as Milwaukee made it 7-0.
Anderson (2-1) allowed one unearned run and six hits, walking one and striking out three. The Pirates' run scored on one of three throwing errors by shortstop Luis Urías.
Pittsburgh starter Trevor Cahill (0-2) retired the last seven hitters he faced before his outing ended after four innings.
Blue Jays 5, Royals 1, first game
Royals 3, Blue Jays 2, second game
Steven Matz (3-0) held Kansas City without a hit into the sixth inning, and Jonathan Davis and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. homered off Mike Minor (1-1) for Toronto in the seven-inning doubleheader opener.
Matz allowed only a pair of walks before Nicky Lopez's blooper to left with one out in the sixth. Matz gave up Andrew Benintendi's two-out double later in the inning and wound up pitching six innings with five strikeouts.
In the nightcap, the Royals followed spot-starter Ervin Santana with four relief pitchers before Salvador Perez's two-out, walk-off homer in a 3-2 win over Toronto.
Greg Holland (2-1) was the last of the relievers in Game 2 for Kansas City, working around an error in the seventh inning to keep the game tied at 2. Joel Payamps (0-1) then retired Whit Merrifield and Benintendi in the bottom half before Perez sent a pitch splashing into the left-field fountains to earn the doubleheader split.
Orioles 6, Rangers 1
Trey Mancini had a tiebreaking RBI double in the eighth inning for Baltimore.
The Orioles got all their runs against three relievers after Rangers rookie starter Dane Dunning threw six scoreless innings. They snapped a 1-1 tie off Joely Rodriguez (0-1) in his season debut. Maikel Franco hit a two-run homer in the ninth off Brett de Gues.
Travis Lakins (1-0), the third of five Baltimore pitchers, threw a scoreless inning for the win.
Astros 1, Mariners 1
Zack Greinke pitched eight sharp innings, rookie Taylor Jones drove in the only run and depleted Houston end a six-game losing streak.
Greinke allowed four hits and walked none. He struck out six, two of them on 67 mph curveballs.
Ryan Pressly pitched the ninth for his first save.
Jones, from nearby Kent, Washington, hit an RBI single with two outs in the fourth. He's been pressed into service after five Astros – including starters José Altuve, Alex Bregman and Yordan Álvarez – were moved to the injured list due to COVID-19 protocols on Wednesday.
Greinke, a six-time Gold Glove, made a brilliant defensive play in the fifth when he gathered in J.P. Crawford's hard grounder, freezing two runners on base, then threw to third to start a double play.
Greinke finished the game with 2,705 career strikeouts. His teammate, Justin Verlander (18th at 3,013), and the Washington Nationals' Max Scherzer (22nd at 2,808) are the only active players ahead of him on the career list.
Chris Flexen (1-1) picked up the loss as Houston snapped Seattle's three-game winning streak. He allowed 10 hits through six innings, striking out three with no walks.
Athletics 7, Tigers 0
Matt Olson, Aramís García and Mark Canha each homered, and Oakland shut out Detroit for a second straight game while winning its seventh win in a row.
After Oakland's 3-0 victory Friday, Cole Irvin (1-2) struck out six, didn't walk a batter and allowed four hits over six innings to earn his first victory since joining the A's. The last time the A's blanked the Tigers on back-to-back days was in June 1973 when Ken Holtzman and Catfish Hunter did it on Oakland's way to the second of three straight World Series championships.
Casey Mize (1-1) gave up five runs and seven hits in five innings.
Reds 3, Indians 2 (10 innings)
Josh Naylor lined into a triple play in the eighth inning, then let a routine grounder roll through his legs at first base with two outs in the ninth that led to Cincinnati's tying run before pinch-hitter Tyler Stephenson's single off Oliver Perez (0-1) in the 10th won it.
Tucker Barnhart homered in the second for the Reds. Sean Doolittle (2-0) pitched a scoreless 10th for the win. Sonny Gray made his first appearance of the season for the Reds after being sidelined with a muscle strain in his back. He gave up two runs and six hits, striking out six over 4 1/3 innings.
Eddie Rosario hit an RBI triple for the Indians in the third. Andres Giménez homered in the fourth.
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