Cubs' Yu Darvish tagged with loss in first start of season

Kyodo, AP

Yu Darvish allowed three runs over four innings and took the loss in his first start of the delayed MLB season on Saturday as the Chicago Cubs fell 8-3 to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Darvish (0-1) allowed six hits and walked none, while striking out five of the 20 batters he faced at an empty Wrigley Field in Chicago.

Darvish struck out the side in the third but struggled in the following inning. With the game tied 1-1, he allowed a two-run triple to Ben Gamel and the visitors did not relinquish the lead for the rest of the game.

"I am frustrated that I gave up runs in a way that I shouldn't have," Darvish said.

The right-hander said playing behind closed doors did not have an impact on his performance.

"I usually don't pay attention to my surroundings. So it didn't feel so different to me," he said.

Five Cubs relievers combined to surrender five earned runs on five hits, a day after Chicago opened its season with a 3-0 victory over the Brewers.

Justin Smoak's fifth-inning solo home run and Christian Yelich's two-run sixth-inning blast gave Milwaukee a 6-3 lead before the team added two more runs in the seventh.

Among other Japanese players, Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani will make his return to the mound on Sunday in the Angels' third game of the season against the Oakland Athletics.

Ohtani has not pitched in a regular-season game since 2018 after tearing his ulnar collateral ligament and undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Minnesota Twins right-hander Kenta Maeda and Seattle Mariners lefty Yusei Kikuchi will also make their first starts on Sunday, against the Chicago White Sox and Houston Astros, respectively.

Astros 7, Mariners 2

In Houston, Lance McCullers Jr. was solid in his return from Tommy John surgery, Yuli Gurriel and George Springer homered and Houston beat Seattle for the 15th straight time.

McCullers (1-0) yielded five hits and two runs over six innings in his first game since the 2018 playoffs. He got double plays from his defense to escape jams in the first two innings before settling in to get the win, striking out six.

Martín Maldonado drove in two runs with a double in the fourth that extended the lead to 5-0.

Seattle starter Taijuan Walker (0-1) allowed seven hits and five runs in 3 1/3 innings. Mariners rookie Kyle Lewis homered for the second straight game.

Houston closer Roberto Osuna pitched a scoreless ninth.

Phillies 7, Marlins 1

In Philadelphia, Phil Gosselin homered twice, J.T. Realmuto added a three-run drive and Didi Gregorius went deep again to back Zach Wheeler in Philadelphia's victory over Miami.

Wheeler (1-0) tossed five-hit ball and struck out four over seven innings after signing a $118 million, five-year deal in free agency. The 30-year-old Wheeler, who spent his first seven seasons with the New York Mets, pitched only days after his wife gave birth to their son.

Gosselin connected off Alex Vesia (0-1) for a two-run shot in the sixth inning to give the Phillies a 3-1 lead and send manager Joe Girardi on his way to his first win with the team. Gosselin homered again in the eighth for his first career multihomer game and a 7-1 lead.

Gregorius hit his second homer in two days when he gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead on a shot to right in the second off Caleb Smith, who lasted just three innings.

Braves 5, Mets 3 (10)

In New York, Marcell Ozuna hit a tying homer off shaky closer Edwin Diaz with two outs in the ninth inning, Dansby Swanson scored automatic runner Adam Duvall with a leadoff single in the 10th and Atlanta beat New York.

New York loaded the bases in the bottom of the 10th with no outs against Luke Jackson (1-0). Pinch-hitter Dominic Smith managed a sacrifice fly, but Jackson recovered and retired Wilson Ramos to end it.

Ozuna, signed to an $18 million, one-year free agent deal in January, energized Atlanta’s struggling offense with his opposite-field drive against Díaz. Ozuna went with a 3-2 fastball just off the outside corner and roped it out to right field for his first home run with the Braves.

Mets reliever Hunter Strickland (0-1) was charged with an unearned run on Swanson’s RBI in Major League baseball’s new extra-innings rule that gives teams a free baserunner on second from the 10th on. Strickland also gave up an RBI double to William Contreras – the first big league hit for the younger brother of Cubs catcher Willson Contreras.

In Other Games

Orioles 7, Red Sox 2

White Sox 10, Twins 3

Cardinals 9, Pirates 1

Rays 4, Blue Jays 1

Rockies 3, Rangers 2

Giants 5, Dodgers 4

Angels 4, Athletics 1

Tigers 6, Reds 4

Royals 3, Indians 2 (10)

Nationals 9, Yankees 2

Padres 5, Diamondbacks 1

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