Soto's single lifts Nationals over Braves in delayed opener

Washington Nationals' Juan Soto, left, celebrates with manager Dave Martinez after Soto hit a game-winning single in the ninth inning of an opening day baseball game against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park, Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Washington. Victor Robles scored on the play, and Washington won 6-5. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON — Juan Soto drove in the winning run with a single on a 3-0 pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning Tuesday, lifting the coronavirus-depleted Washington Nationals to a 6-5 comeback victory over the Atlanta Braves after waiting five days to start their season.

Lefty reliever Will Smith (0-1) entered for the ninth and promptly gave up a single to new leadoff hitter Victor Robles, and then hit Trea Turner with a pitch. That brought up Soto, the 2020 NL batting champion, and he delivered a line drive to center field.

Ronald Acuña Jr., Freddie Freeman and Dansby Swanson homered against Washington ace Max Scherzer. Acuña drove Scherzer's first pitch of the game deep to left-center, and led off the third with his second homer.

Turner hit a two-run shot for the Nationals. Daniel Hudson (1-0) got the win.

Because of a COVID-19 outbreak — four players tested positive; seven were forced into quarantine after potentially being exposed — Washington’s first four scheduled games were scrapped.

YANKEES 7, ORIOLES 2

NEW YORK — Gerrit Cole struck out 13 and walked none over seven scoreless innings in his most dominant start since joining the Yankees.

Cole (1-0) allowed four hits, three of them singles, in the type of the performance that showed why the Yankees made him baseball’s highest-paid pitcher in December 2019 with a $324 million, nine-year contract.

Jay Bruce backed him with his first Yankees home run, a solo shot in the second off Dean Kremer (0-1), and Aaron Judge added a three-run homer in the eighth.

New York has won a team-record 12 straight home games against the Orioles since May 2019, outscoring Baltimore 76-28. It moved above .500 for first time this year at 3-2.

Rio Ruiz hit a two-run homer for Baltimore with two out in the ninth.

METS 8, PHILLIES 4

PHILADELPHIA — Marcus Stroman tossed six sharp innings in his first start since 2019, sending New York to the win.

Dominic Smith and Pete Alonso each hit a two-run homer for the Mets.

Didi Gregorius hit a solo homer for Philadelphia, which sought its first 5-0 start since 1915.

After sitting out last year due to COVID-19 concerns, Stroman (1-0) didn’t miss a step. He allowed one run and three hits.

Phillies starter Chase Anderson (0-1) permitted two runs and two hits over five innings in his first start with his new team.

ASTROS 4, ANGELS 2

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Carlos Correa hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the ninth inning, lifting Houston to the victory.

Kyle Tucker and Aledmys Díaz hit back-to-back homers in the second inning for the Astros, who went an impressive 5-1 on their six-game road trip to start the season amid the incessant booing and jeering they’ll hear indefinitely as fans react to their sign-stealing scandal in the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

Mike Trout hit a 464-foot homer in the first inning, but the Angels dropped to 4-2 and failed to match the best six-game start in franchise history. Raisel Iglesias (1-1) got the loss.

Ryan Pressly (1-0) pitched two scoreless innings for Houston, getting Justin Upton to ground into a game-ending double play.

REDS 14, PIRATES 1

CINCINNATI — Tyler Naquin homered twice and drove in a career-high seven runs, leading Cincinnati to its fourth straight victory.

Rookie Jonathan India had three hits and four RBIs in Cincinnati’s latest offensive outburst. Tucker Barnhart and Nick Senzel also had three hits apiece.

The Reds set a franchise record with 46 runs in their first five games. The 1895 and 1976 teams scored 44 runs through five games.

Cincinnati left-hander Wade Miley (1-0) pitched six scoreless innings in his first start of the year.

Phillip Evans homered for Pittsburgh in the seventh. The utilityman also pitched a perfect eighth.

Trevor Cahill (0-1) was tagged for seven runs and nine hits in four innings in his Pirates debut.

CARDINALS 4, MARLINS 2

MIAMI — Yadier Molina hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly off former batterymate Sandy Alcantara, capping St. Louis' three-run rally in the sixth inning.

Dylan Carson hit his second homer of the season for an insurance run in the ninth.

Alcantara was traded by St. Louis in a package to Miami for Marcell Ozuna in December 2017, three months after making his major league debut with Molina behind the plate.

The 25-year-old Alcantara (0-1) struck out 10 in six innings. He permitted two earned runs and four hits.

Ryan Helsley (1-0) won in relief and Alex Reyes went 1 1/3 innings for his second save.

BREWERS 4, CUBS 0

CHICAGO — Freddy Peralta pitched five sharp innings, Travis Shaw hit a three-run homer and Milwaukee stopped a three-game slide.

Peralta (1-0) struck out eight and walked four. Kris Bryant doubled in the fourth for Chicago’s only hit of the game.

Shaw connected in the first against Adbert Alzolay (0-1), sending an opposite-field drive deep to left-center. Omar Narvaez added a solo drive in the fourth.

Both benches emptied when Brewers reliever Brad Boxberger hit Willson Contreras with a pitch to lead off the Cubs’ half of the ninth. Contreras, who was beaned in the helmet on Monday, started yelling and walking toward the mound, but was steered to first base by teammates.

RANGERS 7, BLUE JAYS 4

ARLINGTON, Texas — Nate Lowe homered twice for Texas and padded his franchise record for RBIs to start the season with four more.

Lowe was the first Texas player to go deep in front of the home fans at Globe Life Field, lining a two-run shot into the Toronto bullpen in left-center field for a 2-1 lead in the first inning.

Ronald Guzman and Jonah Heim also went deep for the Rangers in their first four-homer game in their year-old ballpark. It was also the first six-homer game in the regular season, with Toronto’s Bo Bichette connecting twice.

Lowe’s third homer of the season was a two-run drive to center in the third. His 14 RBIs through five games are the most in franchise history and the most in the majors since Chris Davis had 17 for Baltimore in the first five games of 2013.

Dane Dunning (1-0) worked five innings for the win, and Ian Kennedy pitched a perfect ninth for his first save with Texas.

Toronto’s Tanner Roark (0-1) gave up five runs in three innings.

TIGERS 4, TWINS 3, 10 INNINGS

DETROIT  — Akil Baddoo added another big hit in this charmed start to his big league career, lining an RBI single in the 10th inning for Detroit.

Baddoo made his debut Sunday and homered on the first pitch thrown to him. Then he hit a grand slam in a 15-6 loss to the Twins on Monday. The rookie entered Tuesday’s game as a pinch runner, stayed in to the play the outfield and ended it with a hit to right off Hansel Robles (0-1).

Nelson Cruz and Byron Buxton homered for the Twins, who rallied from a 3-1 deficit.

Gregory Soto (1-0) pitched two scoreless innings for Detroit, and the Tigers scored in their half of the 10th.

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