Once the Phillies finished celebrating their World Series title, the Braves spoiled the rest of the Opening Night party.
Derek Lowe pitched eight superb innings, three Braves homered off Brett Myers, and Atlanta beat the defending champions, 4-1, in the major league opener last night in Philadelphia.
Brian McCann hit a two-run homer, Jeff Francoeur had a solo shot, and Jordan Schafer went deep in his first career at-bat for the Braves.
Lowe (1-0) allowed two hits, no walks, struck out four, and the sinkerballer got 13 ground outs. Mike Gonzalez pitched out of trouble in the ninth.
Gonzalez gave up a one-out RBI single to Jayson Werth after pinch hitter Eric Bruntlett started the inning with a double. After walking Chase Utley, bringing up the tying run, the hard-throwing lefty struck out Ryan Howard looking and Raul Ibanez swinging to end it.
Lowe had far better success against Philadelphia than he did in the NL Championship Series for Los Angeles. The Phillies beat Lowe in Game 1 and he had a no-decision in the Dodgers' loss in Game 4.
Atlanta gave Lowe a $60 million, four-year contract, and the 35-year-old righthander pitched like an ace in his debut with his new team. Myers (0-1) filled in for Cole Hamels, whose first start was pushed back because of minor elbow problems.
The Phillies celebrated the franchise's second World Series title during an hour-long ceremony before the game. The festive crowd of 44,532 had barely settled into their seats by the time the Braves jumped ahead. Making his third straight Opening Day start, Myers retired the first two batters before Chipper Jones lined a single to left. McCann followed with a shot that reached the second deck in right field.
A smattering of boos was heard while McCann circled the bases. It wouldn't be Philly without some jeers.
Whiteout for Sox
The season opener between the Kansas City Royals and White Sox scheduled for today has been postponed because snow and high winds are in the Chicago forecast. The game will be played tomorrow at 2:05 p.m. Opening Day festivities will be held before the first pitch. This is the first time since 1982 that the White Sox opener has been postponed because of bad weather . . . Tampa Bay traded pitcher Jason Hammel
to the Colorado Rockies for minor league pitcher Aneury Rodriguez
yesterday, meaning Jeff Niemann
becomes the Rays' fifth starter. Niemann, who is 6 feet 9 inches, was the No. 4 overall draft pick in 2004. Hammel went 4-4 with two saves and a 4.60 ERA in 40 games last season. The 26-year-old righthander made five starts in April for the American League champions while Scott Kazmir
was on the disabled list . . . The Braves will honor former pitcher Greg Maddux
by retiring his number and inducting the four-time National League Cy Young Award winner into the team's Hall of Fame. Braves president John Schuerholz
said the July 17 honors are the organization's way of thanking Maddux for the immeasurable contributions he's made to the team. Maddux's No. 31 will be the sixth Braves number to be retired. The recent retiree spent 11 seasons with the Braves beginning in 1993 and was a member of the 1995 World Series-winning team. He is the first pitcher to win the NL Cy Young in four consecutive seasons. Maddux's career 355 wins rank him eighth on major league baseball's all-time list. He won a Gold Glove a record 18 times, including last season . . . The Rangers designated third baseman Travis Metcalf
for assignment and placed righthanders Joaquin Benoit
and Eric Hurley
on the 60-day disabled list. Benoit and Hurley both had rotator cuff surgery during the offseason. Hurley was a first-round pick in 2004 and had been expected to be a candidate for the starting rotation this spring.
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