Friday, March 30, 2018

Lamb’s 4 RBIs help D-backs open with 8-2 win over Rockies

Four years after Tommy John surgery derailed his anticipated opening day start, Patrick Corbin got another chance and made the most of it, with a lot of help from Arizona's offense.
Corbin struck out eight while pitching into the sixth inning and the Diamondbacks got hits up and down the lineup in an 8-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night.
"It's great just to start off with a win," Corbin said, "get things rolling in the right direction."
Corbin, 14-13 last season, got the opening day nod from manager Torey Lovullo after a minor groin issue messed up Zack Greinke's preparation schedule and made him unavailable.
Corbin, Lovullo said, "did everything we wanted him to and then some."
He allowed two runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings, walking just one.
Corbin "had the good slider tonight," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "I think that was the key for him, the good breaking pitch. He went to it often. The slider had good depth to it. He kept it down. Out of the hand it looks like a strike then it falls down. He has a good slider. We have to be ready tomorrow with another good one with (Robbie) Ray."
Jake Lamb led the offense. He came up with the bases loaded three times and came through twice, once with a two-run double and again with a two-run single.
"That just shows how good our team is," Lamb said. "That's my job in that part of the lineup, but it's on the other guys to get on base. Up and down the lineup, that's what our team does."
David Peralta singled three times for Arizona, scoring twice and driving in a run. Jarrod Dyson added two hits, including an RBI triple, in front of 48,703 at Chase Field.
"We had runners on base all day long," Lovullo said, "and that's what we're all about."
DJ LeMahieu and Nolan Arenado homered for Colorado.
The teams opened the season on the same field where Colorado's 2017 campaign ended in an 11-8 loss to the Diamondbacks in last year's National League wild-card game.
Jon Gray (0-1), who started that game but didn't get out of the second inning, took Thursday's loss, too. He went four innings, allowing three runs and six hits.
"There were a few pitches up but overall I just didn't get ahead," he said. "A lot of pitches weren't competitive at all and it is tough to win that way. You can put yourself in a bad spot early."
Archie Bradley didn't allow a hit in 1 2/3 innings of relief, striking out two.
With Colorado up 1-0, Peralta and A.J. Pollock led off Arizona's first with singles and Paul Goldschmidt walked to load the bases. On the first pitch he saw, Lamb lofted a fly ball that no one could chase down in front of the 413-foot sign in right-center. Peralta and Pollock scored to make it 2-1. Goldschmidt scored when Alex Avila grounded out to first, and Arizona led 3-1.
After Arenado's homer cut the lead to 3-2 in the sixth, the Diamondbacks scored three in their half of the inning. Peralta brought one run home with an infield single, and Lamb two more with a two-out bloop hit to left and it was 6-2.
TRAINER'S ROOM
Rockies: Colorado placed three players on the 10-day DL retroactive to March 26: RHP Carlos Estevez (left oblique strain), RHP Jeff Hoffman (right shoulder inflammation), LHP Zac Rosscup (left middle finger blister).
Diamondbacks: OF Steven Souza Jr. (strained right pec) said he ran for the first time since the injury and did a little light swinging of the bat but has not tried to throw. Still, he said he didn't expect to feel this good so quickly. He started the season on the 10-day disabled list, as did RHP Randall Delgado (left oblique strain).
IDLE CART
The new, much-hyped motorized cart available for relievers from both teams to come in from the bullpen sat idle all night as all the relief pitchers chose to jog in as usual.
GREINKE'S START
Lovullo confirmed that Greinke would start the final game of the Colorado series on Saturday night. That means right-handers Taijuan Walker and Zack Godley will go against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday and Tuesday.
UP NEXT
In a clash of left-handers, Colorado starts Tyler Anderson and Arizona goes with 15-game winner Robbie Ray in the second game of the three-game series Friday night.

King Again: Hernandez starts strong as M's top Indians 2-1

Felix Hernandez delivered the type of opening day performance the Seattle Mariners have come to expect - even after missing some time during spring training.
It's just a new version of Hernandez that got the job done.
"I had to do my job. It was good. It was fun," Hernandez said.
Hernandez pitched shutout ball into the sixth inning, Nelson Cruz hit a two-run home run in the first and the Mariners opened the season with a 2-1 win over the Cleveland Indians on Thursday night.
Hernandez became just the seventh pitcher to start at least 10 straight opening days, and he got off to a strong start against one of the best teams in the American League. Hernandez allowed two hits in 5 1/3 innings, only being pulled due to a limited pitch count. His spring training was truncated after being hit by a line drive and missing some time.
He has seven opening day wins, tied with Randy Johnson, Tom Seaver and Jimmy Key for fourth most.
"Can't say enough about the job Felix did tonight. Limited work in spring training and compete like that. Really stayed with the game plan. His curveball was outstanding all night," Seattle manager Scott Servais said.
Following Hernandez, the Mariners used five relievers. Edwin Diaz hit two batters in the ninth and let pinch-runner Rajai Davis reach third with one out. But Diaz struck out Yan Gomes and Tyler Naquin to close out the save.
Hernandez (1-0) was given an early jolt from Cruz, who picked up where 2017 left off. After hitting 39 home runs last year, Cruz hit the first pitch he saw from Corey Kluber (0-1) over the center field fence for an early 2-0 lead. The 88 mph cutter stayed in the middle of the plate, and Cruz didn't miss.
That was all Seattle would get against Kluber, who pitched eight innings and allowed six hits.
"It was supposed to be a cutter down and away. I just got underneath it, and it ended up kind of just spinning, hanging pretty much middle-middle," Kluber said.
Seattle has asked Hernandez not to be afraid of contact. He's no longer the strikeout pitcher of his younger years, when his fastball regularly clocked in the mid-to-upper 90s. Location and smarts are keys now.
For at least one outing, it looked like the changes are taking hold.
Hernandez allowed singles to Jason Kipnis in the third inning and Edwin Encarnacion in the fourth, but most of the contact made was weak and easy outs. He even quick-pitched Bradley Zimmer for a strikeout ending the fifth inning.
Hernandez walked Kipnis on four pitches with one out in the sixth, ending his night at 83 pitches. Dan Altavilla got Jose Ramirez to ground into a double play, and the Mariners were through the sixth without allowing a run.
Cleveland got its only run in the seventh after Lonnie Chisenhall doubled with two outs and Gomes' flair to center field dropped in front of Dee Gordon. It was the only time Seattle allowed a runner past second base.
"It's been a while since we opened at home, so it was really good," Hernandez said.
ICHIRO RETURNS
Ichiro Suzuki played left field and went 0 for 2 in his first game with Seattle since being traded to the New York Yankees in 2012. Suzuki signed as a free agent with the Mariners this month, reuniting him with the club where he played his first 12 seasons. The Japanese star was greeted by huge cheers during player introductions and prior to his first at-bat.
HONORING TITO
During the pregame ceremony the Mariners included Tito Francona - father of Cleveland manager Terry Francona - among those with ties to baseball that passed away since the end of last season. Terry Francona appeared moved by the gesture, and Francisco Lindor put his arm around his manager during the moment of silence.
"I was stunned. I wasn't ready for that. It was very classy on their part. I kind of had to catch myself right there," Francona said.
TRAINER'S ROOM
Indians: OF Michael Brantley was placed on the 10-day disabled list as Cleveland finalized its roster, but he is progressing in his rehab from right ankle surgery. Brantley was scheduled to only play seven innings in his last spring training stint with Triple-A Columbus but played all nine because he was feeling so good.
Mariners: C Mike Zunino was a late scratch for the opener due to stiffness in his right side. Zunino felt the stiffness develop after his final swing of batting practice during Wednesday's workout. ... RHPs Hisashi Iwakuma (shoulder surgery) and Erasmo Ramirez (lat strain) both threw bullpens Thursday as they continue recovery from their injuries.
UP NEXT
Indians: Cleveland will send Carlos Carrasco to the mound on Saturday. Carrasco won his final six decisions of the 2017 regular season as part of an 18-win season.
Mariners: Seattle will have lefty James Paxton on the mound. Paxton was 12-5 with a 2.98 ERA in 2017.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Giants edge Kershaw, Dodgers 1-0 on opening day

Turns out, pitching wasn’t a problem for the Giants on opening day.
With replacements in the starting and closing roles, San Francisco edged the Los Angeles Dodgers 1-0 Thursday behind Joe Panik’s homer off Clayton Kershaw.
Kershaw, a three-time NL Cy Young Award winner, took his first loss in his franchise-record eighth consecutive opening day start.
Ty Blach opened in place of injured ace Madison Bumgarner, who is on the disabled list along with fellow starter Jeff Samardzija and closer Mark Melancon. Blach allowed three hits in five innings, struck out three and walked three in his first opening day start after 26 career starts in the majors, second-fewest of any Giants opening day starter since 1958.
“I knew he wouldn’t be scared or nervous or anything, he has a great makeup about him,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
Hunter Strickland gave up a leadoff single to Matt Kemp in the ninth before retiring three straight batters for the save.
“I just try to remind myself that I’ve been in this situation before,” Strickland said. “It just calms me down a bit. Then you’re comfortable in that situation.”
Panik pulled the ball down the right-field line with two outs.
“When you hit those balls and you see it start to curve, you think it’s going to keep curving. I guess I stayed inside the ball long enough,” he said. “To get a lead in this ballpark is always a good thing, especially knowing the kind of bullpen we have.”
Panik’s homer was the first run allowed this year by Kershaw, including spring training. The eight hits given up by the left-hander are the most off him on opening day, when he is 5-1 with a 1.05 ERA — second-lowest all-time in a season opener behind Rick Mahler’s mark of 0.92.

“There’s a lot of things that I could have done better,” Kershaw said. “It was pitch execution more than anything.”
Kershaw struck out seven and walked two in six innings of the Dodgers’ first opening day loss since 2010.
Andrew McCutchen, acquired from Pittsburgh during the offseason, was 1 for 4 with a double in his Giants debut. Evan Longoria, obtained by San Francisco from Tampa Bay, was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts.
Blach has pitched well against the Dodgers in his career, going 3-2 with a 1.96 ERA. He’s held them to a .212 average in eight games, including five starts.
“Last year was a really big learning experience for a lot of us,” Blach said. “We learned it takes 25 guys to win and you can’t just rely on one guy. Even though it’s nice to have Bum opening day, over the course of the year you’re going to have injuries and you have to work through it.”
Kershaw had his hands full from the start against the NL West’s worst team last year, giving up hits in every inning but the third when he retired the side.
The five-time NL West champion Dodgers had the potential tying run on third in the seventh. Yasmani Grandal singled and took third on pinch-hitter Chase Utley’s two-out single. But leadoff hitter Chris Taylor was out on a called third strike from Cory Gearrin.
After Kershaw departed, J.T. Chargois, Josh Fields and Tony Cingrani combined to toss three scoreless innings, but the Dodgers couldn’t generate any offense beyond three singles. TRAINER’S ROOM
Giants: Melancon has a right elbow flexor strain.
Dodgers: They began the season with three players on the DL: 3B Justin Turner (broken wrist), RHP Tom Koehler (shoulder) and LHP Julio Urias (shoulder surgery).
ON THE ROAD
The Giants opened on the road for the ninth consecutive year and improved to 23-16 in openers away from home.
KERSHAW AT THE PLATE
Kershaw was 2 for 2 at the plate, singling in the third and fifth innings, leading manager Dave Roberts to joke that he should have hit cleanup.
WARM WELCOME
Kemp was warmly received by the sellout crowd of 53,595 during pre-game introductions in his first opening day at Dodger Stadium since 2014. “That was pretty awesome,” he said. “I didn’t really expect it. That was a lot of emotion for me.” He started in left field and went 1 for 3 with a walk and a strikeout.
UP NEXT
The Giants start RHP Johnny Cueto against the Dodgers’ LHP Alex Wood, a 16-game winner last year, on Friday in the second game of the four-game series.

Rusty Staub, slugger who played 23 seasons, dies at 73

Rusty Staub was a huge hit on both sides of the border.
Instantly recognizable for his fiery orange hair and gregarious personality, the outfielder who charmed baseball fans in the United States and Canada during an All-Star career that spanned 23 major league seasons died Thursday. He was 73.
Staub died after an illness in a hospital in West Palm Beach, Florida, hours before the start of the baseball season, the New York Mets said in a statement. The team learned of his death from friends of Staub who were with him at the hospital, a spokesman added.
Affectionately dubbed "Le Grand Orange," Staub was a six-time All-Star and the only player in major league history to have at least 500 hits with four teams. Popular with fans and teammates in two countries, he was most adored in New York and Montreal.
"He could be as tough as hell and as soft as a mushroom," said Mets teammate and close friend Keith Hernandez, who choked back tears as he spoke about Staub at Citi Field before New York hosted the St. Louis Cardinals.
A savvy, reliable slugger with left-handed power and a discerning eye, Staub played from 1963 to 1985 and finished 284 hits shy of 3,000. He had 3+ great seasons with the Detroit Tigers and batted .300 for the Texas Rangers in 1980.
He broke into the majors as a teenager with Houston, lasted into his 40s with the Mets as a pinch-hitter deluxe and spent decades doing charity work in the New York area.
"There wasn't a cause he didn't champion," the Mets said.
Staub, who would have turned 74 on Sunday, survived a 2015 heart attack on a flight home from Ireland. Years earlier, the gourmet cook owned and operated a pair of popular restaurants in Manhattan that bore his name. He also authored a children's book titled "Hello, Mr. Met!"
"What a unique personality he was. I never met anyone like him," former Mets pitcher Ron Darling said . "He was a renaissance kind of man."
The Mets saluted Staub on the stadium video board before Thursday's season opener. The number 10 he wore during some of his time with the team (he also wore No. 4) was painted in white on the back of the pitcher's mound.
"Rusty was a superb ambassador for our sport and a generous individual known for community efforts," Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.
Staub was the first star for the expansion Montreal Expos in 1969, embraced by French-Canadian fans at Parc Jarry who appreciated that he learned their language.
He made three straight All-Star teams with Montreal and hit a career-high 30 home runs for the last-place Expos in 1970. Though he spent only three full seasons in Montreal, plus a 38-game reunion in 1979, his No. 10 became the first uniform jersey retired by the club in 1993.
Long after the Expos moved to Washington and were renamed the Nationals before the 2005 season, he remains one of the most beloved players in franchise history.
"He gave his heart and soul to the franchise and to the city of Montreal. He immersed himself in the city's culture as much as any Expo and the fans loved him for it," Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame director of operations Scott Crawford said in a statement. "We'll miss Le Grande Orange, but we'll never forget him."
Staub was traded to the Mets in 1972 and one year later helped lead them to a surprising National League pennant. Spurred by a now-famous rallying cry from reliever Tug McGraw - "Ya Gotta Believe!" - the Mets upset heavily favored Cincinnati, with Staub socking three home runs in the first four games of their best-of-five NL playoff.
Staub separated his right shoulder when he crashed hard into the outfield wall to make a fantastic catch in the 11th inning of Game 4. He sat out Tom Seaver's decisive win in Game 5 and missed the World Series opener against Oakland, yet returned to the lineup the following game.
Barely able to make weak, underhand throws during the Series, he still batted .423 with a home run, two doubles and six RBIs as New York lost in seven games. In all, Staub hit .341 with 11 RBIs in his only postseason, a clutch and gritty performance that endeared him to Mets fans forever.
In 1975, he became the first Mets player to drive in 100 runs in a season, setting a club record with 105 that wasn't broken until 1990.
New York traded Staub to Detroit in December 1975 and he made his final All-Star team with the Tigers in 1976. He had 121 RBIs and finished fifth in AL MVP voting in `78, becoming the first major leaguer to play all 162 games in a season at designated hitter.
Staub re-signed with the Mets before the 1981 season and was a player-coach for them in `82. Late in his career, often sporting black batting gloves and choking way up on the bat, he became one of baseball's best pinch-hitters, tying an NL record in 1983 with eight consecutive pinch-hits and equaling a major league mark with 25 pinch-hit RBIs.
His final season was 1985, one year before the Mets won the World Series. After spending nine seasons with New York, he was inducted into the team's Hall of Fame in `86 and when he was honored at Shea Stadium, smiling ex-teammates such as Hernandez and Darryl Strawberry wore long, orange wigs for the on-field ceremony.
"Rusty was good at everything," Darling said. "He just had a connectivity to people."
Staub was known for his uncanny ability to spot opponents tipping pitches, and he kept their specific tendencies written down in a little red book.
Hernandez told an endearing story about asking Staub for the book but being told he hadn't earned it. When he retired, Staub gave his friend the book as a gift - and Hernandez said he still has it at home.
"It was quite extraordinary," Hernandez said.
Staub worked as an announcer on Mets television broadcasts from 1986-95. He was inducted into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006 and the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012.
Only 11 days after his heart attack - Staub was revived by doctors and nurses on the plane as it made an unscheduled return to Ireland - he threw out the first pitch at Citi Field before a Mets playoff victory in 2015.
"It's a little mind-boggling that I'm here, considering what went down," Staub told MLB.com that night. "I mean, I was tap dancing in front of Saint Peter. He could have taken me easily. But maybe he had some more good for me to do. You know, I do some pretty good work. And I don't know how much time I've got. So I guess I better hurry up."
The next April, he was on hand again to help raise the NL championship banner.
At the end of his distinguished career, Staub founded the New York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund. In a statement, the charity said he "worked tirelessly" on behalf of the families of "New York City's fallen heroes."
The organization said "due to his vision and his leadership" it has provided more than $140 million to the families of first responders killed in the line of duty.
"He cared about each and every family and they felt the same way about him. Rusty started more than just a charity - he started a family," said Stephen Dannhauser, chairman of Answer the Call: the New York Police and Fire Widows' & Children's Benefit Fund. "While many admire Rusty for his impressive record as a baseball player, it is his work off the field that truly made him one of the greats."
Following the 9-11 terrorist attacks in 2001, Mets players and coaches donated their entire salaries from their first game back, about $450,000, to Staub's foundation.
Staub also helped serve meals to thousands of the hungry and homeless at food pantries across New York City through Catholic Charities, with funds from his annual golf tournament and wine auction dinner.
"Rusty helped children, the poor, the elderly and then there was his pride and joy The New York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund," the Mets said.
Hernandez said Staub was in intensive care for a couple of months. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said he was among those who visited Staub during spring training and had reason to hope he would recover.
Alderson said he has an autographed Staub jersey that he bought at an auction mostly out of respect for the person he was, rather than the player.
"A class act all the way," longtime Mets fan Stephen Rosina said at Citi Field. "A humanitarian. ... It was just wonderful to root for him."
Born and raised in New Orleans, Daniel Joseph Staub was called Rusty because of his bright red hair. He made his major league debut with the Houston Colt .45s in 1963, eight days after his 19th birthday, and led the NL with 44 doubles in 1967 for the renamed Astros, earning his first All-Star selection.
Playing mostly right field and some first base, too, Staub retired with a .279 career average, 292 home runs and 1,466 RBIs.
He reached 500 hits with the Astros, Expos, Mets and Tigers, and joins Ty Cobb, Alex Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield as the only players to homer in the majors before age 20 and after 40 .
"You would sit on the bench with him and you would get a tutorial on how to play the game, the history of the game," Darling said. "He changed Keith's life and he certainly changed mine."
Staub had a .362 career on-base percentage. He drew 1,255 walks and struck out only 888 times in 9,720 at-bats over 2,951 games, 13th-most in big league history.
He appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot seven times, never receiving more than 7.9 percent of the vote. He dropped off after getting 3.8 percent in 1997.

Davidson hits 3 of White Sox's 6 homers in 14-7 rout

Most days, Tim Anderson's performance would have made him the star.
Matt Davidson showed up his Chicago White Sox teammate.
The young designated hitter became the fourth player in major league history to homer three times on opening day , while Anderson had to settle for just two of Chicago's six home runs , and the White Sox pounded the Kansas City Royals 14-7 on Thursday to spoil their 50th anniversary celebration.
"I just couldn't catch him," Anderson said with a smile.
Of the four players with three-homer opening days, three have done it against the Royals, while the six homers by Chicago on opening day matched the big league record set by the Mets in 1988.
Jose Abreu also went deep for the White Sox, who picked up James Shields (1-0) in a big way after the former Royals ace surrendered four runs in the first inning. Shields wound up lasting six innings, holding Kansas City without a hit after that shaky first.
Yolmer Sanchez added a three-run single and Yoan Moncada drove in a pair of runs for the White Sox, who forced Royals manager Ned Yost to burn through nine pitchers.
"The boys did an unbelievable job hitting today. It was amazing to watch," Shields said. "I told them, `You don't see that many home runs at Kauffman Stadium this early in the year.'"
Danny Duffy (0-1) breezed through three innings for Kansas City, but a trio of homers in a five-run fourth ruined his day. The left-hander survived the inning before hitting the clubhouse.
"I think they were heater-hunting," Duffy said. "One inning, I gave up three homers. Not ideal."
Despite a cold rain and steel-gray skies, the Royals looked early on as if they would reward the hardy fans who turned out to celebrate the start of their golden anniversary season.
Longtime third baseman Mike Moustakas, who signed a one-year deal during spring training, provided an RBI single in the first before new first baseman Lucas Duda hit a three-run homer to right.
Everything unraveled when the fourth inning began.
Abreu led off a homer binge with a two-run shot , Davidson followed with his first home run , and Anderson added his first two batters later . By the time Moncada added an RBI double off Duffy later in the fourth inning, Chicago had turned a four-run hole into a 5-4 advantage.
"We did the same thing to Shields that they did to Danny in the fourth. We jumped him early," Yost said. "He was making pitches we could drive and after the first inning really just reeled it back in and pitched a great game."
Davidson and Anderson went deep again in the fifth off Royals reliever Blaine Boyer, and Sanchez tacked on a bases-clearing single off Burch Smith with two outs in the seventh.
Davidson capped his big game with a three-run homer off Brian Flynn in the eighth , becoming the first White Sox player with a three-homer game since Dan Johnson in October 2012.
"Special day in anybody's book," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "Just in general, I thought it was a nice start. We fell behind early and that seemed to matter not to any of the guys."
MORE HOMER NEWS
Davidson and Anderson are the eighth set of teammates with multi-homer days on opening day. The previous was Toronto's Shannon Stewart and Tony Batista on April 3, 2000, against Kansas City. ... The only other White Sox players to have multihomer games on opening day are Alejandro De Aza (2014), Jim Thome (2008), Sammy Sosa (1991) and Minnie Minoso (1960). ... The others to homer three times on opening day were Detroit's Dmitri Young (2005), the Cubs' Tuffy Rhodes (1994) and Toronto's George Bell (1988).
TRAINER'S ROOM
Royals: C Salvador Perez (left knee sprain), RHP Nate Karns (right elbow inflammation), INF Adalberto Mondesi (right shoulder impingement) and OF Bubba Starling (left oblique strain) were placed on the DL before the game. Perez is expected to miss 4-6 weeks, though Karns could be back soon.
White Sox: Hard-throwing LHP Carlos Rodon (left shoulder rehab) and C Kevan Smith (sprained left ankle) were placed on the DL retroactive to Monday.
MORE MOVES
The Royals also designated for assignment pitchers Wily Peralta and Ryan Zimmer, selected the contracts of INF Ryan Goins and RHP Blaine Boyer and recalled C Cam Gallagher from Triple-A Omaha. The White Sox selected the contract of LHP Hector Santiago.
UP NEXT
The teams are off Friday before resuming their series this weekend. The White Sox will send RHP Lucas Giolito the mound Saturday night while the Royals counter with RHP Ian Kennedy.

Markakis' 3-run homer gives Braves 8-5 walk-off vs Phillies

Just ahead of a torrential downpour, Nick Markakis made it an opening day to remember for the Atlanta Braves.
Gabe Kapler would rather forget his managing debut.
Markakis delivered a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning , capping the Atlanta Braves' historic comeback from a five-run deficit that rocked the Philadelphia Phillies 8-5 Thursday and immediately turned up the heat on their new manager.
It was the Braves' biggest rally on opening day since at least 1900, and their first walk-off hit to begin a season since 1998.
Kapler faced scrutiny for lifting starter Aaron Nola with the Phillies up 5-0 and one out in the sixth inning . The youngest opening-day starter for Philadelphia since Dennis Bennett in 1964 had thrown only 68 pitches, surrendering three hits.
"Yeah, I was a little surprised," the 24-year-old Nola said. "We just want to go as long as we can. As a competitor, you feel like you can get guys out in any situation. ... I had a good bit left."
A massive storm system moved through Atlanta within 10 minutes of Markakis' homer, quickly turning the warning track into a muddy quagmire.
It didn't matter.
"I was just trying not to do too much," Markakis said. "I told myself to calm down, take a nice easy swing, and try not to miss it."
Hector Neris (0-1) gave up an infield hit to Charlie Culberson and an intentional walk to Freeman before Markakis drove a 1-1 pitch over the right-field wall.
Freddie Freeman and Ozzie Albies also homered for Atlanta.
Nola wound up being charged with a run while watching from the dugout when Hoby Milner gave up Freeman's two-run shot .
In all, Kapler used five relievers. They went 3 1-3 innings, gave up six hits, walked three and were charged with seven runs, six of them earned.
"We believe in all our pitchers," the manager said. "We believe in Hoby Milner's ability to come in and get those two men out. All our guys, all our guys who pitched tonight, we have a tremendous level of confidence in."
Kapler added, "Nola did a tremendous job. I told him as much when he came off the mound. He knows he was spectacular tonight. I can't wait to see him go out for his next start."
Albies homered leading off the eighth , sparking a three-run inning that tied the game at 5. The Phillies contributed greatly, walking two before a terrible defensive sequence by catcher Andrew Knapp . He let a pitch graze his glove for a passed ball, caught a break when the ball ricocheted right back to him, only to skip a throw into left field trying to catch Freeman when he took off for third.
Freeman sprinted home on the error to make it 5-4, and Preston Tucker followed with a run-scoring single.
Arodys Vizcaino (1-0) earned the win by striking out the side in the ninth .
Julio Teheran started on opening day for the fifth straight year , the most for any Braves pitcher since the team moved to Atlanta in 1966. He gave up only four hits over 5 2-3 innings, including Cesar Hernandez's homer, and wound up being charged with four runs when the bullpen faltered as well.
The game drew an announced crowd of 40,208, which was nearly 1,000 shy of the listed capacity at 2-year-old SunTrust Park. The Braves said it was officially a sellout, even though there were noticeable patches of empty seats throughout the stadium.
TRAINER'S ROOM
Phillies: RHP Pat Neshek was not available out of the bullpen because of a sore right lat. "My main intention is to keep our guys healthy and strong for 162 games," Kapler said.
Braves: C Tyler Flowers left the game during his first at-bat of the season after fouling off a pitch in the second inning. Flowers winced in pain and headed straight to the clubhouse with what was described as left oblique discomfort. Kurt Suzuki finished Flowers' at-bat and took over behind the plate.
NOT AROUND AT THE END
Braves manager Brian Snitker was ejected in the ninth for arguing with third-base umpire Jordan Baker about the call on a checked swing.
Snitker said his complaint was a carryover from the eighth, when Dansby Swanson was called out by first-base umpire Greg Gibson on a similar play.
"Dansy was rung up on one that wasn't nearly as bad," Snitker said.
PREGAME FESTIVITIES.
Hank Aaron and his wife were chauffeured around the edge of the field before new Hall of Famer Chipper Jones stepped out of the Braves dugout to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Georgia football star Nick Chubb shouted "Play Ball!" to get the game started.
UP NEXT
RHP Nick Pevetta, who was 8-10 with a 6.02 ERA in 2017, gets the start for the Phillies in Game 2 of the series Friday night.
The Braves will counter with RHP Mike Foltynewicz, who was 10-13 with a 4.79 ERA last season.

Arcia's single lifts Brewers over Padres 2-1 in 12 innings

Ji-Man Choi says being with the Milwaukee Brewers reminds him of a fun day at an amusement park.
The Brewers enjoyed a wild ride on opening day, beating the San Diego Padres 2-1 in 12 innings on Thursday.
Reliever Jeremy Jeffress emphatically pumped his fists several times after getting Chase Headley to hit into a bases-loaded double play in the 11th, and then Orlando Arcia singled in Choi with two outs in the 12th inning.
"We're locked. We're ready to go," a still-excited Jeffress said afterward. "We have players here who can help us out in huge ways. We're staying locked, staying prepared."
Arcia's hit came off sidearmer Adam Cimber (0-1), who was making his big league debut. After getting Manny Pina to hit into a double play, Cimber allowed Choi's pinch-hit double before Arcia's go-ahead RBI.
Choi was the only non-roster invitee to make the team out of spring training. His stay might be short because the Brewers need to add newly signed Dan Jennings to the 25-man roster.
Choi said through a translator that bench coach Pat Murphy gave him a pep talk before the game.
"That uplifted me and gave me the confidence, and even when I came in to pinch-hit I had that confidence to do well," he said.
The game's biggest moment may have been when Jeffress got Headley to ground into a 5-2-3 double play on a splitter to the end the 11th.
"Oh man, I was so pumped. Just excited, man," Jeffress said. "That's the drive and the confidence we need out of everybody, especially in the pen. Just get that confidence, man, knowing that nobody can beat us."
Jeffress (1-0) pitched two innings for the win. Jacob Barnes struck out the side in the 12th for the save.
The Brewers were one out away from winning 1-0 on a four-hitter when Freddy Galvis, acquired in a trade with Philadelphia, singled to right off Corey Knebel, a first-time All-Star last year, to bring in Carlos Asuaje and send it into extra innings. Asuaje singled with one out and stole second with two outs.
Milwaukee's Chase Anderson allowed one hit in six innings in his first opening day start. He had six strikeouts and three walks.
The right-hander also singled to center off Clayton Richard with two outs in the third, advanced on Lorenzo Cain's single to left and scored on Christian Yelich's single to left. A late, awkward slide left the pitcher shaken up momentarily, but he stayed in the game.
Richard, making his first opening day start at age 34, went seven innings, allowing one run and six hits with four strikeouts and one walk.
"Chase pitched well," said Padres manager Andy Green, who dropped to 0-3 on opening day. "There was no consistent pattern to come to and he kept you honest enough inside so you couldn't hang out over the plate, so you've got to tip your hat a little bit but we'll have much better at-bats than that going forward."
Richard "was outstanding," Green said. "You trust the man, that's why you give him the ball on the first day of the season. His sinker was very good today. I don't think he had it like that in spring training."
The Padres flashed some nice defense. Galvis, San Diego's fifth different starting shortstop in five opening days, made a terrific play in the second when he fielded Pina's hard one-hopper as he went to the ground and flipped the ball to second baseman Asuaje to start an inning-ending double play. Headley, the third baseman, made a nice play on Ryan Braun's hard grounder to start an inning-ending double play in the first.
Padres newcomer Eric Hosmer, signed to a $144 million, eight-year contract early in spring training, went 0 for 4 with a walk and two strikeouts in his Padres debut.
QUOTABLE
"We'll get some bubble wrap for the guy," Jeffress said about Anderson's slide.
PREGAME
Trevor Hoffman, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in July, threw the ceremonial first pitch to his older brother, Glenn, the Padres' third base coach. Trevor Hoffman played the bulk of his career with the Padres before playing two seasons with Milwaukee.
Before the national anthem, the Padres held a moment of silence for three former members of the organization who died in recent months: Kevin Towers, Dick Enberg and Rob Picciolo. Towers was general manager for 14 years, building four division winners, including the 1998 team that went to the World Series. Enberg finished his long Hall of Fame career with seven seasons as the Padres TV voice. Picciolo was a longtime coach.
UP NEXT
LHP Joey Lucchesi is scheduled to make his big league debut for the Padres on Friday night after recording a 1.54 ERA in four spring starts. The Brewers will counter with RHP Jhoulys Chacin, who went 13-10 with a 3.89 ERA with San Diego last season.

First rain delay: Reds reschedule opener vs Nationals

The 2018 baseball season already has its first rain delay.
The Cincinnati Reds pushed back their opener against the Washington Nationals by a day because unrelenting rain is forecast for Thursday. The teams will open on Friday afternoon instead, taking advantage of what was a scheduled day
It is the first time since 1966 that Cincinnati called off its opener because of the weather.
The pitching matchups remain the same: NL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (16-6) faces Homer Bailey (6-9), who is making his first opening day start for the Reds.
The forecast calls for steady and sometimes heavy rain Thursday, meaning the game likely would have faced long delays if it could be played at all, Reds President Phil Castellini said.
"Trust me, we do not cancel games here lightly," Castellini said. "No scenario in the forecast has it opening up at all to get in a game tomorrow without rain."
Before the game was rescheduled, it already had become a different sort of opener in Cincinnati, which by tradition gets to begin the season at home.
The city throws a big party complete with downtown parade on opening day, but that wasn't possible this year with Major League Baseball's opening date. The market association that organizes the festivities is busy with the upcoming Easter weekend and decided to wait until Monday, when the Reds host the Cubs, to hold the parade.
Now, there won't even be a game in Cincinnati as the rest of the teams get underway.
Dave Martinez will have to wait a day before his first game as Nationals manager. He takes over for Dusty Baker, who was fired after Washington failed to make it past the first round of the playoffs again last season. The Nationals lost to the Cubs in the Division Series, the second year in a row that they failed to get deeper into the postseason under Baker.
"I'm just excited about standing out for the anthem and getting it started," Martinez said, before the Nationals arrived in the rainy city. "The boys are ready. I'm ready."
Ready to wait.
The Reds have rarely had to call off their season opener despite Cincinnati's notoriously fickle and unpredictable spring weather. They've played the game after snowfalls.
Cincinnati hadn't called off an opener because of bad weather since 1966, when a series against the Mets was rained out and the Reds opened on the road at Philadelphia. John McSherry collapsed on the field after the seventh pitch of the 1996 opener and died. Ken Griffey Jr.'s debut with the Reds in 2000 was called as a 3-3 tie with one out in the top of the sixth because of rain.
The Reds are coming off three straight last-place finishes as they continue their rebuild. Bailey is one of the few players left from the days when they were competing for NL Central titles. He's coming off three years of elbow and forearm problems, including Tommy John surgery.
A year ago, he was recovering from surgery to remove bone spurs from is elbow. Now he gets to start the rain-delayed opener.
"It beats having stiches in your arm," Bailey said.
ROSTER COMPOSITION
The Nationals decided to go with eight relievers for their opening roster while keeping one fewer position player on the bench.
"For me, it's about not beating up the bullpen early," Martinez said. "If you look at our lineup, there's not many guys you're going to pinch-hit for, so having an extra arm in the bullpen made sense to all of us."
REDS' FINAL MOVES
The Reds completed their roster Wednesday by selecting the contracts of infielder Phil Gosselin and right-hander Kevin Quackenbush - both non-roster invitees to spring training - and assigning right-hander Vance Worley to the minors.

Semien's game-ending single in 11th lifts A's over Angels

Marcus Semien knew center field was wide open. He just had to put the ball there.
Semien did it, beating a five-man infield with one out in the 11th inning to lift the Oakland Athletics over the Los Angeles Angels 6-5 on opening day Thursday.
Boog Powell hit a one-out triple off Noe Ramirez (0-1) to start the winning rally. Matt Joyce was intentionally walked to bring up Semien, who delivered his first career game-ending RBI.
"There was a lot of infielders and two outfielders, so I just tried to use the big part of the field there," Semien said.
The Angels got consecutive two-out singles from Martin Maldonado and Zack Cozart in the 11th off Chris Hatcher (1-0) but didn't capitalize.
Khris Davis hit a three-run homer in the fifth and a tying single in the seventh to almost single-handedly get the A's back in it.
Albert Pujols homered leading off the sixth, while Shohei Ohtani connected on the first pitch he saw for a single in a much-hyped major league debut for the Japanese two-way star.
Kole Calhoun and Cozart also homered for the Angels to back Garrett Richards, who began this season healthy following two injury-shortened years. Richards left his initial 2017 outing on April 5 at Oakland, then didn't pitch again for the Angels until Sept. 5 because of a rare nerve irritation in his biceps. He missed most of 2016 with a torn ulnar collateral ligament.
"I felt fine. The ball was coming out great. The stuff was good," Richards said. "I made one mistake to Khris Davis and unfortunately that happened to be the difference-maker today."
Batting eighth as the designated hitter, Ohtani grounded a hard single to right field off Kendall Graveman in the second inning. He grounded out his next three times up before a strikeout in the 11th.
"That's probably an at-bat I'm not going to forget for the rest of my life," Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. "It's my first major league at-bat."
Ohtani often looked overmatched in the Cactus League, managing just four singles in 32 at-bats (.125) and striking out 10 times.
The 23-year-old Ohtani said he wasn't nervous as a hitter but "probably" will be when he starts on the mound for the first time in Sunday's series finale against the A's.
Davis began his quest for a third straight 40-homer season, and Matt Olson tied the game at 4 with a solo shot moments later.
Then Pujols chased Graveman with a drive to left - No. 615 of his career - the slugger's fifth career homer on opening day.
Graveman allowed five runs and seven hits in five innings with a strikeout and no walks in his second straight opening day start for Oakland. The A's played a day game home opener for the first time since 1994.
The Angels, who opened at Oakland for a second straight year, lost their fifth straight season opener after winning the previous five.
KEEPING COUNT
Moments before Semien's single in the 11th, plate umpire Ted Barrett approached Mike Scioscia during the Angels' sixth mound visit of the game and patted the manager on the back, apparently reminding him of his total. Teams are only allowed six mound visits per game beginning this season, excluding pitching changes, though teams get an extra visit for each extra inning. The rule change is part of baseball's initiatives to help speed up games.
NO SELLOUT
The A's drew an opening day crowd of 27,764, nearly 21,000 shy of a sellout (48,592) in the newly configured Coliseum.
TRAINER'S ROOM
Angels: LHP Andrew Heaney, placed on the disabled list retroactive to Monday with inflammation in his pitching elbow, was scheduled to throw a bullpen Friday. "He felt really good coming out of his last bullpen," Scioscia said. "Just see how he feels after tomorrow's pen, during tomorrow's pen and after and maybe get a little more clarity." Heaney will pitch in a game somewhere before being activated, Scioscia said.
Athletics: The A's began the season with five players on the DL for the third straight year: RHP Paul Blackburn, RHP Jharel Cotton, RHP Ryan Dull, INF/OF Renato Nunez and C Josh Phegley.
UP NEXT
Left-hander Tyler Skaggs pitches Friday night for the Angels opposite A's lefty Sean Manaea, a 12-game winner last season.