Lions starters open preseason with a roar on offense, whimper on defense

Tuesday's MLB: Robert's tiebreaking homer leads White Sox over Mariners 3-2

Associated Press

Chicago — Luis Robert hit his first home run of the season, a tiebreaking drive in the sixth inning that led the White Sox over the Seattle Mariners 3-2 on Tuesday in their home opener and extended their winning streak to three.

Robert homered off Matt Brash (0-1), a 23-year-old right-hander making his major league debut.

“He showed a lot of why he’s so special,” manager Tony La Russa said of Robert.

Seattle lost its third straight game after starting with two wins. The Mariners have scored 10 runs: only Baltimore (six) and Milwaukee (nine) began the night with fewer.

Chicago White Sox's Luis Robert, left, celebrates with third base coach Joe McEwing after hitting a solo home run against the Seattle Mariners during the sixth inning of a baseball game in Chicago, Tuesday, April 12, 2022.

Seattle was 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position, getting an RBI single from Jesse Winker with two outs in the ninth off Liam Hendriks, who struck out Mitch Haniger on three pitches for his first save. The Mariners are hitting .156 (7 for 45) with runners in scoring position this season.

Reynaldo López (1-0) relieved left-hander Bennett Souza with two outs and two on in the fifth and threw a fastball past Haniger for a called third strike.

With Chicago leading 2-1, Aaron Bummer struck out Winker to strand two runners in the seventh. Winkler has gotten all seven of his outs this season on strikeouts.

With the potential tying run at second, Kendall Graveman threw a sinker past Jared Kelenic for a called third strike that ended the eighth.

Brash, a 23-year-old native of Kingston, Ontario, hadn’t pitched above Double-A prior to Tuesday. Brash relied on a sweeping knuckle-curve and a fastball clocked as high as 99.2 mph, on a first-inning pitch to José Abreu. Brash threw 51 knuck-curves, 30 fastballs and four changeups.

“I was just attacking the hitters,” Brash said. “I wasn’t too worried about the score.”

Brash’s lone walk, to Josh Harrison with one out in the third set, up Chicago’s first run when shortstop J.P. Crawford bobbled Tim Anderson’s potential inning-ending double play grounder for an error.

“He’s got a great future,” La Russa said of Brash.

Vince Velasquez, making his White Sox debut, gave up one run and two hits in four innings. Eugenio Suárez had both hits off Velasquez, including a solo homer in the second.

White Sox starting pitchers Lucas Giolito, Dylan Cease, Michael Kopech and Velasquez have allowed three earned runs in 17 innings.

Robert walked in the eighth, stole two bases and scored when Eloy Jiménez bounced into a forceout.

Robert made a leaping catch against the center field wall to rob Winker of an extra-base hit in third, and Jiménez made a running catch in front of the left field wall to rob Luis Torrens to start the seventh.

“When you’re on the field, you don’t think about it,” said Robert, who missed more than three months of the 2021 season because of a hip flexor strain. “Injuries, that’s part of the game.”

More Tuesday's MLB

► Cubs 2, Pirates 1: Seiya Suzuki homered twice, Drew Smyly pitched five scoreless innings and the Chicago Cubs beat Pittsburgh 2-1, spoiling the Pirates’ home opener. Suzuki connected for leadoff shots in the fifth and seventh.

One of the top players in Japan, Suzuki signed an $85 million, five-year contract with the Cubs last month. Smyly permitted three hits and walked none in his Cubs debut. The left-hander agreed to a one-year contract last month.

► Guardians 10, Reds 5: José Ramírez hit a grand slam and drove in six runs, remarkable rookie Steven Kwan reached base three more times and the Cleveland Guardians spoiled Cincinnati’s home opener by beating the Reds 10-5. Andrés Giménez hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the ninth inning off Hunter Strickland.

Ramírez, who tripled and singled earlier, capped a six-run burst with his third career slam for a 10-4 lead. Kwan has now reached base at least three times in all five games of his major league career. The 24-year-old outfielder kept up his super start with a single, two walks and a sacrifice fly. Kwan is batting 10 for 15 since making his debut on opening day. He has reached base in 18 of 24 plate appearances, the most times for any player in his first five games since 1901.

► Mets 2, Phillies 0: Tylor Megill delivered his second straight scoreless start for the Mets, Brandon Nimmo homered and New York beat the Philadelphia Phillies 2-0. Francisco Lindor had an RBI single for the Mets, who recovered from blowing a four-run lead in the eighth inning against Philadelphia on Monday night to snap a two-game skid.

Megill, who got a spot in the rotation only when two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom was sidelined by a shoulder problem in spring training, again looked like an ace for 5 1/3 innings. After throwing five shutout innings to win on opening day at Washington, Megill outpitched Zack Wheeler. Megill gave up just three hits, walked none and struck out five. The burly 26-year-old righty has allowed just six hits while striking out 11 without a walk in his two starts.

► Yankees 4, Blue Jays 0: Aaron Hicks hit a go-ahead two-run homer and made jumping catch in his first left-field start in four years, leading the New York Yankees over the Toronto Blue Jays 4-0.

New York scored first for the first time in five games this season when Hicks drove a 2-0 slider from Yusei Kikuchi into the right-center field seats in the second inning, Hicks’ first home run since last April 30. Nestor Cortes and four relievers combined on a five-hitter, quieting a Blue Jays’ offense that produced 23 runs and 38 hits in the first four games.

► Cardinals 6, Royals 5: Albert Pujols homered for the first time since returning to St. Louis and Andrew Knizner hit a three-run shot as the Cardinals defeated the Kansas City Royals 6-5. Nolan Arenado also went deep for St. Louis, which has won 20 of 27 interleague games against the in-state Royals since 2017.

Salvador Perez homered twice and Michael A. Taylor also connected for Kansas City, which has allowed 33 runs in losing its last three games. The 42-year-old Pujols, who also singled twice in a 3-for-4 performance, signed with St. Louis on March 28 for his final season. The star slugger played for the Cardinals from 2001-11, helping them win two World Series.

► Brewers 5, Orioles 4: Andrew McCutchen hit a tiebreaking single in the seventh inning, Devin Williams pitched out of his own jam in the eighth, and the Milwaukee Brewers held on for a 5-4 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. Cedric Mullins hit a grand slam for Baltimore.

After being shut out in two of their first four games, the Brewers improved at the plate. Then Williams nearly gave the game away by allowing a single and two walks to load the bases with nobody out in the eighth. The right-hander recovered, striking out Chris Owings, Jorge Mateo and pinch-hitter Ryan McKenna to end the inning and keep Milwaukee ahead by a run.

► Rays 9, A's 8 (10 inn.): Manuel Margot hit a game-ending single during Tampa Bay’s two-run 10th inning, and the Rays beat the Oakland Athletics 9-8. Wander Franco started the Tampa Bay 10th with an RBI double off Lou Trivino.

Josh Lowe was walked intentionally with two out, and Margot then lined his clutch hit down the left-field line. Billy McKinney’s leadoff single off Ryan Thompson in the 10th put Oakland ahead 8-7. Ji-Man Choi, Brandon Lowe and Brett Phillips homered for the Rays, who improved to 4-1. The A’s got a homer from Jed Lowrie. Oakland had won two in a row.

► Braves 16, Nationals 4: Marcell Ozuna homered twice, Ozzie Albies drove in three runs and the Atlanta Braves fired up their offense to rout the Washington Nationals 16-4. Coming off an 11-2 loss, the Braves began the game with a .201 team batting average before banging out 19 hits and going 9 for 19 with runners in scoring position.

Ozuna, Austin Riley, Adam Duvall, Dansby Swanson and Orlando Arcia each had two RBIs. Travis d’Arnaud had three hits and flopped to the field dramatically when hit on the left shoulder in the eighth inning by a 52 mph pitch from outfielder Dee Strange-Gordon.