Gerrit Cole and Giancarlo Stanton lead New York Yankees past Washington Natioanls in stormy opening game

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WASHINGTON – The coronavirus-shortened Major League baseball season finally began amid the pandemic on Thursday night with many unusual elements – zero fans, referees wearing masks, Washington star Juan Soto sidelined by COVID-19, all nationals and the Yankees kneeling together in front of the national anthem.“It’s hard to describe. It’s 2020 in a nutshell, ”said the Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle, who was supposed to catch Dr Anthony Fauci’s ceremonial first pitch. “Very moving day. Very, very moving day.

And there were a lot of things that made this all look like something normal: Gerrit Colefive formidable rounds, great successes of Giancarlo Stanton and Judge Aaron and a storm-stopped 4-1 win for the renowned Yankees at the reigning national championships.

” “It was very fun. No one could have imagined the type of year we have this year, but within those parameters he has passed all the points, ”said Cole, who only allowed Adam Eatonhome run of the first run and joked about recording a full game. “I just had a blast. ”

Max Scherzer, who retired 11 but dropped out of all New York races, chose to look on the bright side, saying, “I’d rather play baseball than not. That’s how I see things. All the things that we can go negative about and cry about, I just won’t do it.

What started out as a muggy evening turned into a dark, windy downpour, filled with rumbling thunder and lightning, causing a delay early in the sixth round.

After waiting 1 hour and 58 minutes – 15 minutes longer than what had been played – the game was called off and goes on the books as a victory for New York.

Scherzer (0-1), a three-time Cy Young Award winner, served a two-run homerun to 2017 NL MVP Stanton who traveled 459 feet in the first, an RBI brace to judge AL Rookie of the Year 2017 in the third, and a single RBI to Stanton in the fifth.

Cole (1-0) looked like the player the Yankees were hoping for when they signed him as a free agent on a nine-year, $ 324 million contract, the biggest contract for a pitcher. It was great other than driving Eaton’s – the ball landed on one of the blue tarpaulins now sprawling over unused seats in Nationals Park.

It was the official start of what is expected to be a regular season with just 60 games – instead of the usual 162 – with, at least initially, no spectators – instead of the 40,000 or more that would typically be at the opening. day in Washington – and with key rule changes.

These include Thursday’s deal to expand the playoffs from 10 to 16 teams; using designated hitters in every game, not just at American League ball parks; and the gimmicky second base runner to start each half inning as an extras.

In these most polarized times in the United States, there were certainly those happy, and perhaps relieved, that one of North America’s premier team sports – the so-called national pastime – was finally to be back, playing real games.

“I found it easy to stay locked in the game,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “I had a lot of butterflies today coming to the baseball stadium and sorting all the different things to get ready

And there were also, of course, those who wondered if it was a good idea to play these games as the COVID-19 epidemic worsens in parts of the country.

The pre-game ceremony included nods for the Nationals title and the Black Lives Matter move – players from both teams held a long piece of black cloth together, then knelt in unison.

“There’s a lot of injustice in this world and a lot of bad things going on, so we just wanted to show that we are aware of it,” Judge said. “Start the conversation. Start the change. ”

The 266 days between the final game of the World Series – Scherzer started Game 7 for Washington against Cole’s former team, the Houston Astros – and Thursday marked the longest game-to-play gap since the Leagues started. professional baseball in 1871.

“A long wait,” Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres he told me.

There are all kinds of protocols meant to keep people safe, including a ban on spitting players, referees wearing masks and frequent testing for the novel coronavirus – Soto went on the special injured list for the disease on Thursday after the return of his positive result.

“It was a very harsh reminder how precarious this situation is,” Doolittle said of Soto.

Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman was already on this list. Two national players who would have been on the list – Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross – chose not to participate in the season due to health issues.

Even though the stadium was closed to the public, some people watched from the balconies of at least one high-rise building nearby. Meanwhile, a fake crowd noise was played through the stadium’s speakers, adding a bizarre element to the eerie atmosphere.

“It was strange,” the judge said. “It was really strange.”

FOLLOWING

After Friday’s day off, series resumes on Saturday, with World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg throw against New York James Paxton. Rain is forecast.

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