Padres, Guardians, Phillies, Mariners win playoff openers

NEW YORK (AFP) — Yu Darvish delivered a stellar pitching performance and San Diego sluggers smacked four home runs to power the Padres over the New York Mets 7-1 as the Major League Baseball playoffs began Friday.

Manny Machado, Josh Bell, Jurickson Profar and Trent Grisham blasted homers off devastated Mets ace Max Scherzer to give San Diego a 1-0 lead in MLB’s best-of-three wildcard round of an expanded playoff system that features six clubs each from the American and National leagues.

“We trust the guys around us,” Bell said. “This organization has done a good job building.”

Darvish, a 36-year-old Japanese right-hander, scattered six hits and allowed only one run over seven innings, striking out four batters without issuing a walk.

Scherzer was the first MLB playoff starter since 1939 to surrender seven runs and four homers.

In other series openers Friday, Cleveland edged Tampa Bay 2-1 while Philadelphia, in the playoffs for the first time since 2011, scored six runs in the ninth inning to beat host St. Louis 6-3 and Seattle, in the playoffs for the first time since 2001, blanked host Toronto 4-0.

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