Milwaukee – Pitchers Kenta Maeda and Yu Darvish were not involved in the decision in their opening day starts as Major League Baseball’s return to a full 162-game schedule started Thursday.
Every team was scheduled to begin play on the first day of the 2021 MLB season, but the Boston Red Sox-Baltimore Orioles game was pushed back a day because of rain in Boston and the Washington Nationals-New York Mets opener was postponed due to COVID-19 issues.
At American Family Field in Milwaukee, Maeda, who was traded by the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Minnesota Twins in February 2020, allowed one earned run, six hits, two walks and a hit batter over 4⅓-innings in the team’s 6-5 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Twins blew a 5-2 lead in the ninth inning and lost in extra innings against their border rivals.
“The bases-loaded walk (in the third) was the worst way to give up a run but I think I did as good as can be expected under the circumstances,” Maeda said of the free pass to Travis Shaw, who sparked a ninth-inning comeback with a two-run double.
At Petco Park in San Diego, Darvish went 4⅔-innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and one walk while striking out six in the San Diego Padres’ 8-7 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
In his debut with the Padres, Darvish gave up two of Arizona’s four homers in a six-run fifth and departed after 93 pitches.
“My pitches had speed but I lacked control,” Darvish said. “I had to persevere on the mound. But I’m not going to be pessimistic.”
Jake Cronenworth led off the bottom of the seventh with a triple, followed by a Jurickson Profar sacrifice fly that put the Padres ahead for good at 8-7.
Last year, Maeda and Darvish finished as runners-up for the American and National League Cy Young Awards, respectively. It is only the second time two Japanese pitchers were starting opening day games in MLB.
At Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Shohei Ohtani, who was in the Los Angeles Angels’ lineup as designated hitter, batted second and went hitless in four at-bats as the Angels scored twice in the eighth inning to rally past the Chicago White Sox 4-3.
Ohtani reached on a fielder’s choice and scored the go-ahead run on Albert Pujols’ groundout in the eighth. Ohtani was lifted early from a spring training pitching appearance on Monday due to a blister, but is set for a full two-way role this season.
At LoanDepot Park in Miami, Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Yoshitomo Tsutsugo went 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout. Austin Meadows broke open a scoreless pitching duel with an eighth-inning homer, leading the visiting Rays to a 1-0 win over the Miami Marlins.
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