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Braves, balk spoil Darvish’s home debut

Reuters

The Atlanta Braves’ Ozzie Albies, left, looks over at Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish as he scores on a wild pitch in the fifth inning of Friday’s game at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

. Mandatory Credit: Jim Young-USA TODAY Sports

The Associated PressCHICAGO (AP) — Yu Darvish’s first home start with the Chicago Cubs went nothing like his previous outing at Wrigley Field. Instead of dominating in a playoff win, he got knocked out in an early-season loss.

Anibal Sanchez pitched three-hit ball over six innings, Preston Tucker backed him with a three-run homer and the Atlanta Braves spoiled Darvish’s home debut with a 4-0 victory on Friday.

Darvish had already dodged a few jams when he got thrown off by a balk call in the fifth that he and manager Joe Maddon did not think he deserved. The Braves went on to score all of the runs in that inning while knocking Darvish out of the game.

“After the balk, I got [thrown] off guard and just went downhill from there,” Darvish said through an interpreter.

The four-time All-Star got tagged for four runs and nine hits in 4⅔ innings. Darvish (0-1) walked four and struck out four while throwing 105 pitches.

The last time he pitched at Wrigley, he worked into the seventh inning of a 6-1 Dodgers victory in Game 3 of the NL Championship Series last fall. Signed to a $126 million, six-year deal, he struggled for the second time in three starts with Chicago. And the Cubs lost again after dropping two of three to the surging Pittsburgh Pirates.

Tucker delivered the big blow in the fifth with a long homer to right to make it 4-0, and that was all the Braves needed with Sanchez (1-0) dominating.

“I faced him one time right before I had shoulder surgery, and it wasn’t pretty,” said Tucker, who has three homers — all three-run shots. “It’s hard enough to hit him when you’re healthy.”

Sanchez struck out six and walked one. He has a 1.29 ERA through two starts and three appearances after signing a minor league deal in mid-March.

Shut out for the third time this season, the Cubs have scored just one run in the two games since a 13-5 romp over Pittsburgh.

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Ohtani scores winning run

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Los Angeles Angels are off to a sizzling start, thanks to contributions from all over their lineup.

Albert Pujols homered and drove in three runs, Ian Kinsler had three hits and a sacrifice fly that scored Shohei Ohtani with the go-ahead run in the eighth inning and the Angels rallied to beat the Royals 5-4 on Friday night.

The Angels have won six straight and nine of 10. Their 12-3 start matches their best record after 15 games, set in 1979.

“We’re just playing well right now,” Pujols said. “We’re just kind of picking each other up. We had a great spring and we’re carrying that into the season. And that’s what we do every day, try to have fun and enjoy it. It’s a great mix of veteran players and young players. You’re hungry every day.”

Zack Cozart and Ohtani, who doubled in his first at-bat, led off the eighth with singles off Justin Grimm (0-2). After Andrelton Simmons advanced the runners with a bunt, Luis Valbuena’s pinch-single scored Cozart and moved Ohtani to third. Kinsler’s flyout to center drove in Ohtani.

“I like him anywhere in the lineup,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of Ohtani. “I like him in the batter’s box. Just the way our lineup falls, we want Shohei to get his feet on the ground. It’s his first go around, the first time seeing a lot of these pitchers and he’s doing very well. I think it makes our lineup fairly deep when you have him hitting down a little lower, just for the fact of the guys swinging the bats up front.”

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Maeda dealt 1st loss

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Daniel Descalso homered and drove in four runs, and the Arizona Diamondbacks held off the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-7 on Friday night for their 10th straight regular-season victory over their NL West rival.

Coming off a relief appearance against the Giants, Kenta Maeda (1-1) struggled in his second start of the season for the Dodgers. He gave up five runs — two earned — and five hits in 2⅔ innings. The Japanese right-hander struck out two and walked two.Speech

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