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>>Brewers Outlast Cardinals in Season Opener

 

Lorenzo Cain soared above the wall to rob Jose Martinez of a tying home run for the final out, lifting Christian Yelich and the Milwaukee Brewers over the St. Louis Cardinals 5-4 on Thursday.

 

Yelich got right back to work after winning the NL MVP award last season, putting Milwaukee ahead to stay with a three-run homer off Miles Mikolas in the third.

 

Mike Moustakas and pitcher Jhoulys Chacin also connected for the Brewers. Josh Hader retired five in a row before Cain's play finished off the save.

 

Kolten Wong homered twice for St. Louis and Harrison Bader also connected. The Cardinals blew a 3-0 lead in their fifth consecutive loss against the Brewers, including a three-game sweep last September that helped propel Milwaukee to the NL Central title.

 

Paul Goldschmidt went 0 for 3 with three strikeouts and a walk in his first regular-season game for St. Louis since he was acquired in an offseason trade with Arizona.

 

Chacin (1-0) struck out seven in 5 1/3 innings in his third opening-day start. He also helped himself with two hits, singling and scoring on Yelich's drive before hitting a 2-2 pitch from Mikolas into Milwaukee's bullpen in left-center for his second career homer in the fifth.

 

Mikolas (0-1), a surprise star last season when he went 18-4 in his first year with the Cardinals, allowed five runs and five hits in five innings.

 

Wong's second homer made it 5-4 in the seventh, but Milwaukee's depleted bullpen held on. Hader struck out four, fanning Goldschmidt, Paul DeJong and Marcell Ozuna in the eighth and Dexter Fowler in the ninth.

 

Young right-handers Jack Flaherty and Freddy Peralta get the ball when the series resumes Friday night. St. Louis is counting on the 23-year-old Flaherty to help anchor the rotation after he went 8-9 with a 3.34 ERA in 28 starts last year. Peralta, who turns 23 in June, won a spot in Milwaukee's rotation during spring training. He went 6-4 with a 4.25 ERA in 16 appearances last season during his first year in the majors, including 14 starts.

 

>>Cubs Clobber Rangers in Season Opener

 

Javier Baez homered twice, Jon Lester won for the first time in his last five opening day starts and the Cubs began the season with a 12-4 victory Thursday at Texas, spoiling the debut of new Rangers manager Chris Woodward in the 26th and final opener in their current ballpark.

Kris Bryant added a two-run shot for the Cubs, opening their fifth season under manager Joe Maddon after four playoff appearances in a row that included the 2016 World Series title.

 

Elvis Andrus and Nomar Mazara each hit a two-run homer for Texas, which matched its most lopsided loss in a season opener.

 

The Cubs led 7-2 in the fifth after Baez greeted reliever Jesse Chavez with a three-run homer on the right-hander's first pitch. That was an inning after Baez hit a solo shot, when he reached out almost one-handed to pull an 82 mph 0-2 breaking pitch from Mike Minor (0-1) into the left-field seats.

 

Lester (1-0) limited Texas to two runs over six innings to win his first opening day start since 2013 with the Red Sox. 

 

Minor, the only holdover from last season's Rangers rotation, made his first career opening day start. He permitted six runs and five hits over 4 2/3 innings.

 

The Cubs will send Yu Darvish to the mount today. Darvish started his major league career with Texas in 2012 after seven pro seasons in Japan, pitches against the Rangers for the first time since they traded him in 2017.

 

The Ranger counter with Lance Lynn's only previous appearance at the Rangers' home ballpark was as a rookie with St. Louis in the 2011 World Series. The right-hander on Saturday makes his first start for Texas since signing a $30 million, three-year deal as a free agent in December.

 

>>Royals Down Sox in Season Opener

 

Brad Keller pitched two-hit ball over seven shutout innings, Adalberto Mondesi tripled twice and the Royals held off the Chicago White Sox 5-3 Thursday after the start of their 2019 opener was delayed nearly two hours by rain.

Eloy Jimenez went 0 for 3 with an RBI in his major league debut for the White Sox after signing a $43 million, six-year contract - a record high for a player under club control yet to appear in a big league game. The 22-year-old outfielder was nicked on the left toe by a pitch with the bases loaded in a three-run ninth.

 

Chicago loaded the bases again before Brad Boxberger, the fourth Royals reliever of the inning, retired Yolmer Sanchez on a line drive to deep right field for the final out.

 

Jorge Soler drove in two runs and Whit Merrifield scored twice for the speedy Royals. Merrifield extended his hitting streak to 21 games dating to last season and stole two bases - he led the majors with 45 steals a year ago.

 

Keller (1-0) struck out five and walked one to help the Royals improve to 18-33 on opening day.

Carlos Rodon (0-1) started for the White Sox and was charged with three runs - two earned - and three hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out six and walked one.

 

Mondesi tripled in the fourth and scored on Alex Gordon's sacrifice fly. Mondesi initially was ruled out at third base, but replays showed Yoan Moncada didn't get the tag down in time and the call was reversed.

 

Rodon gave up a bloop single to Merrifield leading off the sixth. He stole second and third before Rodon plunked Alex Gordon with a pitch. Soler followed with an RBI single and the Royals got another run on an error by Sanchez at second base, ending Rodon's day.

 

Mondesi's second triple scored Merrifield in the seventh. Soler added an RBI double.

 

Anderson had an RBI single for Chicago in the ninth.

 

Reynaldo Lopez starts for the Sox Saturday when the series continues.

 

Jakob Junis goes for Kansas City in the second game of the season.

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