MLB roundup: Young phenoms spark the Nationals

For Bryce Harper, two homers in his first two at-bats, and even some ‘‘M-V-P!’’ chants. For Stephen Strasburg, 19 consecutive outs during one stretch of seven scoreless innings.

And for the defending NL East champion Washington Nationals, a 2-0 victory over the visiting Miami Marlins on Monday in Game 1 of a season manager Davey Johnson declared months ago should be defined as ‘‘World Series or bust.’’

Harper, the 20-year-old left fielder coming off NL Rookie of the Year honors, hit solo shots over the out-of-town scoreboard in right-center field off Ricky Nolasco in the first and fourth innings. He sprinted around the bases both times, and after his second trip, he climbed back out of the dugout for a curtain call, pumping his right fist.


It was Harper’s first taste of Opening Day; he began last year in the minors before getting called up.

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‘‘It was a pretty special moment,’’ Harper said. ‘‘If I was 0 for 4, or 4 for 4, it wouldn’t have mattered to me. Just going out there having some fun on Opening Day for the first time.’’

For Strasburg (1-0), this marked the start of what should be his first full season in the majors, with zero pitch or inning limits. The All-Star ace, shut down before the stretch run in September and division series loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012, was dominant against a trade-depleted Marlins lineup that features Giancarlo Stanton and little else.

The righthander went seven innings, matching his career high, and allowed three hits. Pitching to contact more than in the past, Strasburg used his electric, high-90-mile-per-hour stuff for three strikeouts and did not walk a batter.

Tigers 4, Twins 2 — Justin Verlander won on Opening Day for the first time in six tries, pitching five shutout innings at frosty Target Field and sending defending American League champion Detroit past Minnesota.


With the game-time temperature at 35 degrees and the wind blowing at 17 m.p.h., fans had to bundle up.

Prince Fielder, wearing a black ski covering on his head, had two hits and an RBI to help spoil Vance Worley’s first start for the Twins, who left 12 runners on, including the bases loaded in the seventh.

Mariners 2, Athletics 0 — Felix Hernandez struck out eight in his first start since signing a $175 million, seven-year contract in February, and visiting Seattle beat reigning AL West champion Oakland.

King Felix surrendered one walk while pitching 7 scoreless innings. He didn’t allow a hit until John Jaso doubled to left-center with one out in the fourth.

Franklin Gutierrez hit a two-run single in the fifth to break a scoreless tie, and it held up for Hernandez.


Angels 3, Reds 1 — Chris Iannetta hit a solo homer and a bases-loaded single in the 13th inning, powering Los Angeles past host Cincinnati in the majors’ first interleague season opener.

The Angels loaded the bases with two outs in the 13th off J.J. Hoover, who walked two and hit Hank Conger, the Angels’ final position player. Iannetta worked the count full, fouled off a pair of pitches, then singled to left.

Mark Lowe pitched two innings for the win. Ernesto Frieri, the Angels’ seventh pitcher, finished off the Reds’ longest opening game since 1975, when they beat the Dodgers, 2-1, in 14 innings.

White Sox 1, Royals 0 — Chris Sale outpitched James Shields, Tyler Flowers homered, and host Chicago beat Kansas City.

Shields (0-1) was a tough-luck loser even though he gave the Royals exactly what they envisioned when they acquired him from Tampa Bay. The former All-Star lasted six innings, allowing just one run and eight hits while striking out six without a walk.

Flowers drove a 2-2 pitch out to left-center leading off the fifth. It was his first homer since he went deep against Kansas City last Sept. 8.

Cubs 3, Pirates 1 — Jeff Samardzija struck out nine in eight nearly flawless innings and Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run homer and Wellington Castillo added an RBI double for Chicago at Pittsburgh.

Samardzija allowed just two hits and walked one. Kyuji Fujikawa got a save in his major league debut after closer Carlos Marmol struggled.

A.J. Burnett gave up three runs on six hits in 5 innings, striking out 10.

Braves 7, Phillies 5 — Freddie Freeman drove in three runs with three hits, including the first of three Atlanta home runs, and the Braves beat Cole Hamels and visiting Philadelphia.

Hamels struggled in his first Opening Day start. He gave up five runs on seven hits, including the 3 homers, with 5 strikeouts and 1 walk in five innings.

Mets 11, Padres 2 — Jonathon Niese went 6 innings and had a good day at the plate, and Collin Cowgill capped a successful New York debut with a grand slam in a rout of visiting San Diego.

Niese had a perfect day at the plate, tying his career high with two hits. He had an RBI single in the second off an ineffective Edinson Volquez (0-1), then drew a leadoff walk and scored in a three-run fourth.

Brewers 5, Rockies 4 — Jonathan Lucroy hit a sacrifice fly in the 10th inning to give host Milwaukee the victory, ruining the first game for new Colorado manager Walt Weiss.

Rickie Weeks sparked the winning rally when he stole second after he was hit by a pitch with one out. Adam Ottavino then issued an intentional walk to Ryan Braun and lost Aramis Ramirez to another walk before Lucroy ended the game.

Diamondbacks 6, Cardinals 2 — Ian Kennedy struck out eight in seven strong innings and Arizona used 15 hits to beat St. Louis in Phoenix.