Baseball / MLB

Yusei Kikuchi sharp, but Mariners blow lead against Red Sox

AP, Kyodo

Pinch hitter Mitch Moreland connected for a three-run homer in the ninth inning and the Boston Red Sox rallied for their first win of the season, beating the Seattle Mariners 7-6 on Friday night.

A day after losing their opener 12-4, Boston bounced back. The Mariners had started off 3-0.

It was 6-4 when Rafael Devers opened the ninth with a double off closer Hunter Strickland (0-1), moved to third on a passed ball and pinch hitter Blake Swihart was hit by a pitch.

Strickland got a huge out when Devers was nailed at the plate on Jackie Bradley Jr.’s groundball, but Moreland didn’t miss a 2-0 fastball in the middle of the plate and lined into over the right field wall.

Matt Barnes pitched the bottom of the ninth to close out the victory for his first save since 2017. The Red Sox have a different look in the bullpen this year after closer Craig Kimbrel became a free agent — he hasn’t yet signed with a new team.

Boston’s comeback ruined another fine effort by Seattle rookie Yusei Kikuchi, who pitched six solid innings and left in line for the victory. After pitching well last week at Tokyo Dome, Kikuchi showed his new hometown fans the mix that made him a prized signing by Seattle in the offseason.

Kikuchi allowed three runs — two earned — and scattered four hits, including homers by Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez, and struck out five.

“It was a game that allowed me to feel confident (with my pitching), and a game where I saw the world champs display their strength,” Kikuchi said.

“I didn’t feel any pressure and I really looked forward to today. I enjoyed pitching.”

But it was all for naught as Seattle’s biggest concern entering the season — its bullpen — failed to come through.

Cardinals 9, Brewers 5

In Milwaukee, St. Louis slugger Paul Goldschmidt hit three home runs and then was intentionally walked in the ninth inning.

Athletics 6, Angels 2

In Oakland, Matt Harvey pitched solidly in his first game with the Angels, Andrelton Simmons hit a tiebreaking single in the eighth and Los Angeles beat the Athletics for its first victory under new manager Brad Ausmus.

Rays 4, Astros 2

In St. Petersburg, Florida, Charlie Morton was solid in his debut for Tampa Bay, pitching five innings and striking out eight against his former team.

Padres 4, Giants 1

In San Diego, Manny Machado got his first two hits with the Padres and Ian Kinsler homered to lift the hosts to 2-0 for the first time since 2011.

Blue Jays 6, Tigers 0

In Toronto, Matt Shoemaker pitched seven sharp innings to win his Blue Jays debut, giving Charlie Montoyo his first victory as a major league manager.

Rockies 6, Marlins 1

In Miami, Charlie Blackmon had three hits and drove in two, German Marquez struck out seven in six innings and Colorado pulled away late to beat the hosts.

Diamondbacks 5, Dodgers 4 (13)

In Los Angeles, Carson Kelly hit a two-out double to right in the top of the 13th to drive in Nick Ahmed as Arizona outlasted the hosts.

Diamondbacks reliever Yoshihisa Hirano, one of seven Arizona pitchers, worked one inning. He allowed three hits and a run. He walked one and struck out one.