MLB Opening Day scores: Red Sox, Chris Sale stumble; Bryce Harper makes Phillies debut

Opening Day of the 2019 season saw all 30 teams in action and plenty of noteworthy occurrences. In the early games, we saw a pitching duel to remember in D.C. and a big day for a freshly minted Mets slugger. Elsewhere, the Brewers fended off the Cardinals, who could be facing more of the same in weeks to come. Also on the docket are big-league debuts by the compelling likes of Fernando Tatis Jr. and Eloy Jimenez and a clash between the AL Cy Young winner and the AL Cy Young runner-up. Let's dig in with scores and the most important takeaways for Thursday's MLB slate.

Select games can be streamed regionally via fuboTV (Try for free). For more on what channel each game is on, click here.

MLB Opening Day games

1. Dodgers make homer history

During the course of their ritual abuse of Arizona pitching on Opening Day, Dodger hitters teamed up for eight home runs. That's an MLB Opening Day record, and it ties the Dodgers' franchise record for home runs in a game. 

Joc Pederson and Enrique Hernandez each went deep twice, and Austin Barnes, Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager (in his return from Tommy John surgery), and Max Muncy also got in on the fireworks. That's six different players going yard and that's also an Opening Day record in the live-ball era (i.e., going back to 1920). Here are all eight homers:

The Dodgers last season led the NL with 235 home runs, and thus far in 2019 nothing's changed. On the other side, Diamondbacks starter Zack Greinke is now lugging around an ERA of 17.18 after his first start of the season. 

2. Harper hitless in Phillies debut 

The Phillies thumped the Braves at home as Andrew McCutchen, Maikel Franco, and Rhys Hoskins all homered for the hosts. The major subplot was of course the Phillies debut of Bryce Harper, who this offseason inked a $330 million contract with Philly. 

Harper was cheered loudly during introductions, and he got more love when he took his position in right field in the top of the first: 

Then came more cheers when he came to bat for the first time as a Phillie: 

And it brazen defiance of civic tradition, they even cheered him after failing at his job (i.e., he grounded out to first). On the day, Harper wound up 0 for 3 with two strikeouts. Yes, he also drew a walk and scored a run, but after his second and final strikeout of the day, Philly turned back into Philly: 

OK, yes, that was just a few scattered boos, but let's appreciate -- appreciate! -- that they happened.  

Harper came into this one as the active leader with five Opening Day home runs. No such luck in this one, as Harper is now batting .000/.250/.000 one game into his Phillies career. Our own Stephen Pianovich and Katherine Acquavella have more the start of the Harper era and Philadelphia's potent lineup.

3. Sale roughed up on Opening Day

Chris Sale's first start of 2019 was the worst of his Red Sox career. The Mariners hammered Sale for seven runs, including three home runs, in only three innings Thursday night. Edwin Encarnacion and Tim Beckham (twice) took Sale deep.

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Chris Sale BOS • SP • 41
IP3
H6
R7
ER7
BB2
K4
HR3

In his four previous Opening Day starts, Sale allowed six runs total in 28 innings. Then he gave up seven in three innings Thursday. Ouch. Also, Sale allowed three homers in a start for the first time since September 2017, and seven runs in a start for the first time since August 2017. The good news? It can only get better from here.

As for Beckham, he currently leads MLB with three home runs. He hit two homers Thursday and also hit a home run during the Japan Series last week. A former top prospect going to the Mariners and breaking out after the Dustin Ackley/Jesus Montero/Justin Smoak years would be quite the reversal of fortune.

4. New-look Mets edge Nationals

It was a matchup that featured the reigning NL Cy Young winner, Jacob deGrom, against last year's runner-up in the balloting, Max Scherzer (who's also a three-time Cy winner). As you see above, the final score reflected it. The two aces combined to strike out 22 batters on the day, and they're the first Opening Day duo to strike out at least 10 apiece since Dave McNally of the Orioles and Sam McDowell of the Indians way back yonder in 1970. Our own R.J. Anderson has more on this clash of elite arms in D.C

deGrom, of course, is a Mets lifer, but the other story on this day was those new to the Mets. GM Brodie Van Wagenen undertook a major makeover this winter that saw him bring in the likes of Robinson Cano, Wilson Ramos, a couple of bench pieces, and a host of new relievers (including lockdown closer Edwin Diaz, who picked up the save in Washington). Cano in particular shined on Thursday. The veteran second baseman went 2-4 with a pair of two-out RBI. His efforts included this home run off Scherzer in the first ... 

That Scherzer changeup left the bat at 106 mph and traveled 406 feet. Cano also shined in the field. Check out this heads-up throw to the plate to catch speedy rookie Victor Robles in a rundown in the third: 

Cano's now in his age-36 season, but last season he put up an impressive OPS+ of 136 with Seattle. Aging curves don't always go how we think they will, and that's especially the case with greats like Cano. The expectation in Queens is that he's going to continue being a productive player, at least for the near-term. 

5. Cardinals tough road begins with a tough loss

In Milwaukee on Thursday, the Cardinals got a pair of homers from Kolten Wong, but that wasn't enough. The Brewers prevailed by a single run thanks to home runs from Mike Moustakas, reigning MVP Christian Yelich, and starter Jhoulys Chacin. Relief ace Josh Hader notched a two-inning, high-leverage save, and Lorenzo Cain appeared to prevent the tying run when he robbed pinch-hitter Jose Martinez for the final out of the game: 

On that note: 

The Cardinals at one point had Miles Mikolas staked to a 3-0 lead, so this is a tough loss. Speaking of tough, this begins a one-quarter stretch that will see the Cardinals 30 of their first 44 games against teams that posted a winning record in 2018. Of those 14 games against teams that didn't manage a winning 2018, all of them come against the Padres, Reds, Mets, and Phillies -- i.e., teams that improved themselves by significant margins this past offseason. 

This isn't to suggest that the Cardinals have a tougher road than any other team in the NL Central -- the schedules will mostly even out by the time it's over. Rather, it's that the Cardinals face a particularly tough first quarter of the season, and as such they risk getting buried and devitalized early. For a team that's heavily in on winning in 2019, that's something to monitor in the season's early weeks. 

6. Zimmermann flirts with perfect game

Tigers righty Jordan Zimmermann was perfect for 6 2/3 innings on Thursday when Teoscar Hernandez broke up his bid for a perfect game with a soft ground-ball single up the middle. Zimmermann needed just 70 pitches to get through seven scoreless: 

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Jordan Zimmermann DET • SP • 27
vs. TOR, Opening Day 2019
IP7
H1
R0
SO4
BB0

Zimmermann previously threw a no-hitter for the Nationals -- the first no-hitter in Nationals history. 

According to the Tigers, Zimmermann is the first pitcher to go 6 2/3 perfect innings on Opening Day since Hall of Famer Lefty Grove threw seven perfect innings for the Red Sox.

Quick hits

  • Pirates OF Starling Marte was scratched from the Opening Day lineup because of a migraine headache. 
  • Luke Voit homered in the Yankees' win over Baltimore. He's now hit 15 home runs in 40 games as a Yankee.
  • Cubs INF Javier Baez homered twice and tallied four RBI against Texas. 
  • The Marlins unveiled their new uniforms on Thursday, and it says here the jerseys look pretty sharp: 
CBS Sports Writer

Dayn Perry has been a baseball writer for CBS Sports since early 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for FOXSports.com and ESPN.com. He's the author of three books, the most recent being Reggie Jackson: The... Full Bio

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