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US MLB

Mets clip Braves as Cespedes homers in return

EditorsNote: updates to “28 consecutive” and “12th time” in eighth graf; adds info to last graf

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Yoenis Cespedes, appearing in his first game in 734 days, hit a home run in the seventh inning Friday afternoon to snap a scoreless tie and lift the host New York Mets to a 1-0 win over the Atlanta Braves in the season opener for both teams.

The Mets improved their Opening Day record to 39-20, good for a .661 winning percentage that is the best in baseball. The Braves fell to 24-31 in Opening Day games since moving to Atlanta in 1966.

A moment of silence was held before the game for the victims of the coronavirus pandemic.

Cespedes, who hadn’t played since July 20, 2018, due to two heel surgeries and a broken right ankle, homered deep into the left field seats on the second pitch he saw from Chris Martin.

It was the first home run and RBI by a designated hitter while playing in an NL park. It also gave Cespedes a homer in each of his last three games dating back to May 13, 2018.

Seth Lugo (1-0), who threw two one-hit innings in relief of starter Jacob deGrom, earned the win. Justin Wilson threw a one-hit eighth, and Edwin Diaz worked around a one-out walk to Freddie Freeman in the ninth to earn the save.

deGrom and Braves starter Mike Soroka were sharp in scoreless debuts.

deGrom, the two-time defending National League Cy Young Award winner, allowed one hit -- an infield single by Ronald Acuna Jr. in the third -- and one walk while striking out eight over five innings. He has thrown 28 consecutive scoreless innings dating back to last September. The no-decision marked the 12th time deGrom has thrown at least five innings allowed no runs and not earned a win.

Soroka, a 22-year-old who became the youngest Opening Day starter for the Braves since 1878, allowed four hits and no walks while striking out three over six innings. He benefited from a pair of run-saving plays by center fielder Ender Inciarte, who robbed J.D. Davis at the wall in the fifth and ran down a potential RBI double by Jeff McNeil in the sixth.

--Field Level Media

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