St Louis Cardinals ace pitcher Adam Wainwright was nearly flawless as he led his side to a 9-0 Opening Day shutout of the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates.

Wainwright pitched six scoreless innings, giving up five hits and no walks before being relieved to begin the seventh inning, finishing with 81 pitches.

It was far from a stressful game for the home side, scoring in the first inning through a Tyler O'Neill RBI single, before O'Neill smashed a three-run bomb over the wall an inning later to lead 4-0 through two frames.

The middle innings moved quickly as neither team was able to string baserunners together, but the Cardinals gave the home fans some more to cheer for in the eighth inning with home runs to Tommy Edman and Nolan Arenado.

J.T. Brubaker took the loss for the Pirates, finishing with four hits, three walks and four earned runs in three innings of work.

Super Suzuki wins debut

The Chicago Cubs' high-profile international signing, Seiya Suzuki, collected a hit and two walks from four at-bats in a 5-4 home win against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Kyle Hendricks pitched well for the home side, conceding one earned run to go with seven strikeouts before being withdrawn in the sixth inning.

The big moment for Suzuki came as he led-off the fifth inning, sending a base hit to shallow left field for his first career knock after signing a five-year, $85million deal out of the Japanese league this off-season.

The Bobby Witt Jr era begins in Kansas City

While Suzuki is favourite to take home the NL MVP, the Kansas City Royals' Bobby Witt Jr is the favourite in the AL, and delivered on debut in his side's 3-1 home win against the Cleveland Guardians.

After three outs from his first three at-bats, Witt delivered when it mattered, finding the gap with a RBI double in the eighth inning to give his side a 2-1 lead, and then came around and scored himself to finish it off.

Ohtani makes history in Angels loss    

It was not a great Opening Day for the Los Angeles Angels, but reigning AL MVP Shohei Ohtani made history once again.

In the Angels' 3-1 loss to the Houston Astros, Ohtani became the first player to start on the pitchers' mound and lead-off the batting, throwing and facing Los Angeles' first pitch of the season.

He finished with nine strikeouts and one earned run before being withdrawn in the fifth inning after 80 pitches, while going zero-for-four from his plate appearances.

 

Thursday's results

Atlanta Braves 3-6 Cincinnati Reds

St Louis Cardinals 9-0 Pittsburgh Pirates

Kansas City Royals 3-1 Cleveland Guardians

Chicago Cubs 5-4 Milwaukee Brewers

New York Mets 5-1 Washington Nationals

Arizona Diamondbacks 4-2 San Diego Padres

Los Angeles Angels 1-3 Houston Astros

 

Red Sox at Yankees

The two historic rivals will kick off their seasons at Yankee Stadium on Friday in the first scheduled game of the day.

Taylor Fritz saw his way past Alejandro Tabilo to advance to the quarter-finals at the US Men's Clay Court Championships, winning 6-1 6-4 on Thursday.

Fresh off his maiden ATP 1000 title at Indian Wells and fourth-round run in Miami, the American world number 13 needed just 62 minutes to win in straight sets, in his first clay court match for the season.

Fritz's serve was not particularly secure, though, with the unseeded Tabilo converting on only one of six break point attempts. Fritz was more efficient and assertive when opportunities presented on the other hand, taking two of three break point chances on Tabilo's serve while winning 12 out of 19 points returning on his second serve.

Despite the Chilean world number 100 fighting back to 4-4 from 3-0 down in the second set, Fritz steadied to close out the match.

"I felt like tonight was going to be a really tough match, given he's done really well on clay," Fritz said post-match. "It was my first match [on clay]. I'm pretty happy with how I played. I can't complain, I got out of that pretty solid."

Fritz will now face another Chilean, fifth seed and defending champion Cristian Garin, who came back from a set down to defeat Jordan Thompson 3-6 6-3 6-3.

Entering the Houston event on a five-match losing streak, Garin has come from behind in back-to-back matches to win.

Sixth seed Frances Tiafoe also went the distance on Thursday, earning a 5-7 7-5 7-6 (7-4) win over Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas.

With neither garnering break point chances in the third set, Tiafoe finally created breathing room by winning four straight points at 2-2 in the deciding tie-break, before closing out the match.

It sets up an all-American quarter-final with John Isner, who defeated Steve Johnson 6-7 (1-7) 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 in Thursday's final game.

Im Sung-Jae was delighted to be alone atop the leaderboard after round one of his second appearance at The Masters.

The South Korean had an incredible debut at Augusta National, finishing tied with Cameron Smith for second place in 2020.

Im finished Thursday's round five under after birdieing his first three holes of the day, also collecting a birdie on the seventh to card a four under front-nine.

After consecutive bogeys to start the back nine, he recovered in style, nabbing an eagle on the par-five 13th, and another birdie on 15.

Speaking to the media after his first round, the former runner-up highlighted how much confidence his previous success has given him.

"It was great to have a great finish at my Masters debut, and because of that experience I feel comfortable when I come to Augusta," he said. "I feel like I can play well here every time.

"My preparation stays the same for each tournament, but I felt like my driving game was not as up to par as what it used to be, so I worked on my driving, and today the key to a successful round was having good tee shots.

"The key to the good round today was just getting off to a hot start. I birdied the first three holes, and that's what got me on to a good rhythm."

World number five and the tournament's top seed, Aryna Sabalenka, was upset by American Amanda Anisimova 3-6 6-4 6-3 in the third round at the Charleston Open.

Sabalenka's serve was the key to her early success, connecting on 73 per cent of her first serves, and winning 15 of the 19 points in that situation (79 per cent).

When Sabalenka's first serve percentage fell to 48 in the second set, Anisimova found her footing, breaking twice in the frame, before pouncing on the Belarusian's lacklustre second serve in the deciding set, winning seven of nine opportunities to earn the break and the win.

Sixth seed Jessica Pegula was also bounced in surprising fashion, losing 6-4 3-6 6-4 to unseeded compatriot Coco Vandeweghe.

In a razor-close contest, it came down to who took their chances, as Vandeweghe saved seven of the 10 break points she faced, while Pegula could only save one of five.

World number 10 Ons Jabeur had no problem navigating the challenge of Emma Navarro, winning 6-3 6-2 as she broke her opponent's serve on six occasions.

Canadian seventh seed Leylah Hernandez also fell victim to an unseeded upset, going down 3-6 6-3 6-4 against Poland's Magda Linette.

In a meeting between two top-10 seeds, Belinda Bencic got the better of Madison Keys to edge it 6-4 6-4.

Second seed Paula Badosa had to come from a set down to eventually get the better of Claire Liu 3-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-1.

In the late session, French 12th seed Alize Cornet went down in a close tussle against Ukraine's Anhelina Kalinina 7-6 (7-5) 7-5, while Jabeur won her second match of the day, beating Irina Begu 6-3 6-2.

Meanwhile, in Bogota at the Copa Colsanitas, top seed Camila Osorio dispatched Turkish opponent Ipek Oz 6-3 7-6 (7-4) to move on to the quarter-final where she will meet Elina Avanesyan.

Australia's Cameron Smith had mixed feelings after his first round at The Masters on Thursday.

Smith finished the day with a four-under 68, which was enough for outright second on the leaderboard, trailing leader Sungjae Im by one stroke.

It was an action-packed day for the most famous mullet on tour, tallying a round-high eight birdies, but shooting himself in the foot with double-bogeys on the first and last hole.

Speaking to the media after stepping off the 18th green, Smith said he is not going to dwell on his painful ending to his round.

"I’ve moved on already," he said.

"The less you guys bring it up, the quicker I’ll forget about it. I’m done with it. I think the stuff in between was really nice, and [I'll] just take the positives out of it.

"I feel like I played some really solid golf today, and to be four under is a little bit disappointing. 

"But given the condition of the golf course, and the condition with the wind and stuff like that, if you had given me four under at the start of the day, I would have taken it.”

Touching on his double-bogeys, Smith said they were more of a case of misreads rather than mis-hits.

"To be honest, those couple of double-bogeys really didn’t have too bad a shots in them," he said. "It’s not like I was scratching it out of the trees. 

"I got my second shot into a reasonable spot, and just misjudged the wind on both wedges."

In a spectacular run of form, which includes a win at The Players Championship this year, Smith credits his ascension to increased professionalism off the course.

"I feel as though the last five or six years I’ve been really inconsistent with my training, and probably the last eight months or so I’ve been just really consistent," he said.

"I’ve made lots of good changes, I think, to my body, and I just feel like I’m able to walk off the golf course and not be wrecked.

"Most of the time I feel pretty fresh walking off the golf course, which is a feeling I don’t think I had for a long time, and it’s I think why my game has probably got a lot more consistent through four rounds.

“I lost a little bit of weight – my body moves a little bit quicker when I don’t have so much around my belly. 

"I think I’ve definitely started to see my driver going probably a little bit further, definitely the swing speed up a little bit.

"I just need to – now I think the next step is just being able to control that and hit more fairways."

Tiger Woods looked in good health in his return to The Masters, but it is Sungjae Im who stands alone atop the leaderboard after the first round at Augusta National.

In Woods' first competitive round since The Masters in 2020, the legend finished with three birdies – on the sixth, 13th and 16th – as well as two bogeys, on the eighth and 14th holes.

South Korea's Im produced the round of the day, birdieing the first three holes on his way to five birdies, two bogeys and an eagle on 13 to finish at five under.

Smith, who recently won The Players Championship, finished one shot off the lead and outright second at four under, despite bookending his round with double-bogeys on both the first and the 18th, with eight birdies in between.

World number one Scottie Scheffler nearly went bogey-free, but a slip-up on 18 saw him finish two shots off the pace at three under. 

It was a similar story for Dustin Johnson, who birdied four of his first 10 holes before dropping a shot on the 17th to finish tied with Scheffler, as well as Chile's Joaquin Niemann and England's Danny Willett in a tie for third.

Patrick Cantlay and Canadian Corey Conners highlight the small group tied for seventh at two under, while Tony Finau, Webb Simpson and former runner-up Will Zalatoris are one further back, tied with Woods for 10th.

A decorated group finished at even par, including Hideki Matsuyama and Sergio Garcia, as well as Victor Hovland, who had five birdies, three bogeys and a double-bogey.

A pair of big names shot 73 for a one over finish in Collin Morikawa and Rory McIlroy, while plenty of notable stars were a further shot back.

Bookmakers' favourite Jon Rahm was uncharacteristically off his game, with four bogeys and two birdies to finish at two over along with Max Homa, Xander Schauffele, Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott.

Brooks Koepka was two under through nine holes, but three consecutive bogeys on 11, 12 and 13 drained his confidence, eventually finishing three over.

Bryson DeChambeau, Louis Oosthuizen and Justin Thomas had a day to forget at four over.

Tiger Woods looked in good health in his return to The Masters, but it is Im Sung-jae who stands alone atop the leaderboard after the first round at Augusta National.

In Woods' first competitive round since The Masters in 2020, the legend finished with three birdies – on the sixth, 13th and 16th – as well as two bogeys, on the eighth and 14th holes.

South Korea's Im produced the round of the day, birdieing the first three holes on his way to five birdies, two bogeys and an eagle on 13 to finish at five under.

Smith, who recently won The Players Championship, finished one shot off the lead and outright second at four under, despite bookending his round with double-bogeys on both the first and the 18th, with eight birdies in between.

World number one Scottie Scheffler nearly went bogey-free, but a slip-up on 18 saw him finish two shots off the pace at three under. 

It was a similar story for Dustin Johnson, who birdied four of his first 10 holes before dropping a shot on the 17th to finish tied with Scheffler, as well as Chile's Joaquin Niemann and England's Danny Willett in a tie for third.

Patrick Cantlay and Canadian Corey Conners highlight the small group tied for seventh at two under, while Tony Finau, Webb Simpson and former runner-up Will Zalatoris are one further back, tied with Woods for 10th.

A decorated group finished at even par, including Hideki Matsuyama and Sergio Garcia, as well as Victor Hovland, who had five birdies, three bogeys and a double-bogey.

A pair of big names shot 73 for a one over finish in Collin Morikawa and Rory McIlroy, while plenty of notable stars were a further shot back.

Bookmakers' favourite Jon Rahm was uncharacteristically off his game, with four bogeys and two birdies to finish at two over along with Max Homa, Xander Schauffele, Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott.

Brooks Koepka was two under through nine holes, but three consecutive bogeys on 11, 12 and 13 drained his confidence, eventually finishing three over.

Bryson DeChambeau, Louis Oosthuizen and Justin Thomas had a day to forget at four over.

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl says it is a good thing to see a heavyweight club like Chelsea go through a rough patch as the two sides prepare to meet this weekend.

The Blues have lost back-to-back home games over the past week, going down 4-1 to Brentford in the Premier League and 3-1 to Real Madrid in the Champions League.

It is only the second time Chelsea have lost successive matches in all competitions this term, while never before under Thomas Tuchel have they lost two league games in a row. 

Indeed, Tuchel – appointed by the west London side in January 2021 – has managed the most matches without losing consecutive games in the history of the competition (48).

Despite Chelsea's recent wobble, however, Hasenhuttl is expecting the visitors to be on top of their game at St Mary's on Saturday.

"It’s a good thing to see that the big teams are struggling sometimes. The bad thing is that this doesn't happen very often," he said at Thursday's pre-match news conference.

"So, as I know them and how they work, he’ll definitely be critical with them and will try to show a reaction.

"I always expect the most difficult opponent, even if they win this game 3-0 and have the next leg on Tuesday against Madrid.

"I know Saturday's game is very important for them also, and a Premier League game for Chelsea is always important against us, especially because it’s not easy coming here.

"I think it will be a tough game, tough fight and we will try to make it as tough for them as possible."

Karim Benzema netted a hat-trick in Madrid's victory, becoming the second player after Cristiano Ronaldo in 2017 to score consecutive Champions League knockout-game trebles.

Asked what he learned from Madrid's midweek win at Stamford Bridge, Hasenhuttl joked: "That you need a player like Benzema to win against them! 

"This is what we have learned. I think those who saw the game saw a very, very good Real Madrid side. Surprisingly good, I must say, that they played in this way.

"First half the way Chelsea played is not good enough for the Champions League. Thomas knows this.

"It is interesting also such a team also looked like they were affected by the home loss to Brentford. You could feel it. They were not so confident with everything they did."

Chelsea have lost just one of their 13 Premier League games at St Mary's and are unbeaten in their last eight visits since a 2-1 loss in March 2013.

Ada Hegerberg revelled in making an "incredibly beautiful" return to Norway duty by scoring a hat-trick in a 5-1 win over Kosovo. 

Inaugural Women's Ballon d'Or winner Hegerberg opted against playing for her country in 2017 due to a perceived lack of respect for female players from the Norwegian Football Federation (NFF). 

The 26-year-old reversed her decision following the appointment of a new NFF president, returning with the European Championship just three months away. 

And she made an emphatic comeback, nodding in Caroline Graham Hansen's cross for the first of two goals in the space of two first-half minutes. 

Hegerberg completed her hat-trick on the hour mark to help keep Norway three points clear of Belgium in World Cup qualifying Group F. Frida Maanum and Ereleta Memeti were also on target in Sandefjord.

"It is a pleasure to play for the national team again. It is an incredibly beautiful thing," Hegerberg said, who moved onto 41 international goals. 

"It's a new chapter. It was very good to play at home again. It's been a great day." 

Asked how long she envisaged representing Norway for and whether she could surpass Isabell Herlovsen as the nation's all-time leading scorer with 67 goals, she replied: "One match at a time! But I'm 26 years old. I expect to be in the game for a while longer. 

"For as long as possible. As long as I can remain a leading player in the game and have the motivation to keep going, I will continue." 

Tiger Woods says he was "sore" but "right where I need to be" after making a promising start to his astonishing comeback at The Masters.

It was feared the 15-time major champion's incredible career would be over when he suffered serious leg and foot injuries in a car accident in February 2021.

Yet just over 13 months later, the legendary American was teeing off in the first major of the season at Augusta and was just three shots off the lead when he signed for a one-under 71.

At the famous course where he won the green jacket five times, Woods made three birdies and two bogeys in a promising return.

Sungjae Im was at the top of the leaderboard on five under through 15 holes, with Dustin Johnson a shot adrift of the South Korean along with Cameron Smith, who started and finished with a double bogey as he went round in 68.

The 46-year-old Woods says it feels like a victory just to be playing this week and is ready to go through the pain barrier in Georgia, where he was given such great support on Thursday.

He said: "I am as sore as I expected to feel, but it was amazing to have - like I was telling the team all week, come game time, it will be a different deal.

"My adrenaline will kick in. I'll get into my own little world, and I'll get after it. It's about the training that we've done to have the stamina to go.

"I'm going to be sore, yes. That's just the way it is. But the training cycles that we've had to make sure that I have the stamina to keep going -- and this is only one round. We've got three more to go. There's a long way to go and a lot of shots to be played."

Woods revealed that his pre-round preparation had not gone to plan.

"I had a terrible warm-up session," he said. "I hit it awful. I went back to what my dad always said. Did you accomplish your task in the warm-up? It's a warm-up. Did you warm-up?

"Yes, I did. Now go play. That's exactly what I did, I went and played."

"I forgot whatever I did on the range and just go ahead and play shot for shot, hit the ball in the correct spot, commit to what I'm doing, leave myself in the right angles, hopefully make a few putts, and let's get after this thing. Yeah, I was able to do that.

"I was able to finish up in the red. I'm only three back. I'm right where I need."

The former world number one, who could have lost a leg following his car accident last year, had more work to do after such an encouraging opening round.

He added: "Lots of treatments. Lots of ice. Lots of ice baths. Just basically freezing myself to death. That's just part of the deal. And getting all the swelling out as best as we possibly can and getting it mobile and warmed up, activated and explosive for the next day. Those are two totally different ends of the spectrum.

"Most sports, if you're not feeling very good, you got a team-mate to pass it off to, and they can kind of shoulder the load. Or in football, one day a week. Here we've got four straight days, and there's no one that's going to shoulder the load besides me. I've got to figure out a way to do it.

"My team's been incredible at getting me into this position so that I can compete. I'll take it from there. I know how to play. I've just got to get out there where I can play."

Xavi called on Barcelona fans to make Camp Nou "a pressure cooker" after they drew 1-1 against Eintracht Frankfurt in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final.

Ansgar Knauff gave Eintracht the lead with a fine finish early in the second half at a raucous Deutsche Bank Park on Thursday, but Ferran Torres equalised after a brilliant exchange with Frenkie de Jong. 

The Bundesliga side saw Tuta sent off with just over 10 minutes remaining following a second bookable offence, but Barca were unable to pinch a winner in the closing stages. 

However, by avoiding defeat their unbeaten run stretched to 14 games – their best streak since January-May 2019 under Ernesto Valverde. 

Barca had almost two-thirds of the possession but mustered fewer than half the attempts on goal of Eintracht, who were a persistent threat on the counter-attack. 

Xavi felt his team were hindered by the state of the pitch and hopes a fiery atmosphere in Catalonia in next Thursday's second leg can help the Blaugrana advance to the semi-finals. 

"They were a very physical opponent. They got forward like hell in transitions. We didn't have the ball circulation and the state of the pitch didn't help us," Xavi told Movistar. 

"We leave quite satisfied and Camp Nou will have to be a pressure cooker, like it was in their stadium. 

"Normally the team that's in control creates more, but we were not able to stop their devilish counter-attacks. We had already been warned – they eliminated a team like [Real] Betis [in the last 16]." 

Gerard Pique hobbled off in the first half with an apparent groin injury but Xavi was unable to provide a meaningful update on the centre-back. 

Sergio Busquets, who would have given a penalty away for a tackle on Rafael Borre had it not been for VAR, acknowledged Barca will need to be better in the second leg. 

"The goal gives us a lot of life because we had come to win but it was very difficult," said Busquets. 

"There are things to improve. We will do better in the second leg with our fans and a pitch that will surely be better and faster. 

"Barca are always a candidate to win everything. We had a period that wasn't the best but we're doing things well. 

"We respect all the teams. Anything can happen and we will try to win." 

Barca have progressed in three of the five knockout rounds in Europe's secondary competition after drawing the first leg away from home. They were eliminated in the last such instance by Bayern Munich in the 1995-96 season. 

Top seed Felix Auger-Aliassime crashed out of the Grand Prix Hassan II after he was beaten 6-4 2-6 7-6 (9-7) by world number 65 Alex Molcan.

Making his debut in Marrakech, Auger-Aliassime arrived off the back of an impressive start to 2022.

Indeed, the world number nine had already triumphed in Rotterdam and been runner-up to Andrey Rublev in Marseille.

But he came unstuck at the hands of the player ranked 56 places lower, with Molcan securing his first career win over a top-10 player.

The Slovakian crucially broke in game nine on the way to taking the opening set. Auger-Aliassime, who hit 10 double faults during the contest, responded by dominating the second, while the players exchanged breaks in a decider that went to a tie-break.

The top seed forced match point at 7-6 up, but Molcan held on by reeling off the next three to secure a dramatic victory.

David Goffin, meanwhile, claimed his 300th tour-level win as he came from behind to defeat three-time champion Pablo Andujar.

Andujar had seen off second seed Dan Evans in the first round but, despite making a fast start against Goffin, it was the Belgian who triumphed 5-7 7-6 (7-4) 6-3.

Federico Coria overcame Mirza Basic in straight sets, while Roberto Carballes Baena defeated Portugal's Joao Sousa 6-2 7-6 (7-4) and Richard Gasquet saw off Pavel Kotov.

Tiger Woods made an impressive start to his sensational Masters return before Dustin Johnson joined Cameron Smith in a share of the lead at Augusta.

Woods declared himself fit to make an incredible comeback at Augusta on Thursday, just over 13 months after suffering serious leg and foot injuries in a car accident.

The 15-time major champion did not resemble a player whose career could have been over last year as he carded a one-under 71 in his first competitive round for 508 days.

Woods was in a share of ninth place when he holed a putt for par at 18 following a wayward tee shot as he made up for lost time in Georgia, where he was given magnificent support from packed galleries.

The five-time winner of the green jacket went out in 36 after a brilliant tee shot gave him a simple task of rolling in a short birdie putt at the par-three sixth, before a first bogey at the eighth.

Legendary American Woods made further gains at holes 13 and 16 following a second dropped shot at 14, looking like he had never been away in a promising opening round.

Smith started and finished with a double bogey as he signed for a four-under 68.

The Australian had been three shots clear, but sliced his tee shot way at the last to the right, undoing some of the good work after making eight birdies.

World number one Scottie Scheffler joined Smith on four under when he made a fourth birdie at the penultimate hole, but bogeyed 18 to join Danny Willett and Joaquin Niemann one stroke off the pace.

Johnson ominously moved into a share of the lead with Smith when he made a fourth birdie of the day at the 10th under blue skies.

Tanguy Ndombele was on target as Lyon held 10-man West Ham United to a 1-1 draw in their Europa League quarter-final first leg.

Ndombele – on loan from Tottenham – opened his account for the Ligue 1 side; equalising midway through the second half at the London Stadium on Thursday.

Jarrod Bowen had broken the deadlock early in the second half as David Moyes' side capitalised on sloppy defending by the visitors.

The Hammers played the entire second period with 10 men after Aaron Cresswell was controversially shown a straight red card just before the break.

Unbeaten in six European matches against English opposition, including their elimination of Manchester City in the 2019-20 Champions League quarter-finals, Lyon had the first sight on goal after 10 minutes.

The in-form Moussa Dembele lost Declan Rice at the near post, but was unable to direct Lucas Paqueta's inviting cross towards the target.

Said Benrahma latched onto Craig Dawson's long ball over the top of the defence at the other end before he was denied by Antony Lopes from a tight angle.

The Hammers suffered a big blow when they were reduced to 10 men just before half-time; Cresswell shown a straight red card after dragging back Dembele when he was deemed to be the last defender.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, the hosts took the lead seven minutes after the restart. Pablo Fornals won possession high up the field and after a couple of fortunate ricochets, Bowen's goal=bound effort deflected up and over Lopes via Jerome Boateng.

Lyon responded 14 minutes later as Ndombele tucked away after the Hammers failed to deal with Tete’s initial cross – leaving the tie finely poised heading into the second leg at the Groupama Stadium next week.

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