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Cole, Yankees top Nats in rain-shortened opener

Gerrit Cole allowed one hit in five stellar innings before a rain delay and Giancarlo Stanton homered and drove in three runs as the visiting New York Yankees recorded a 4-1, rain-shortened victory over the host Washington Nationals on Thursday night in the season opener of the abbreviated 60-game season.

Cole (1-0) allowed only a homer to Adam Eaton with one out in the first and finished his Yankee debut with five strikeouts and one walk in a 75-pitch outing. The only other Nationals to reach against Cole were Eric Thames (hit by pitch) in the second and Asdrubal Cabrera (walk) in the fifth. Cole struck out Andrew Stevenson and Victor Robles after the walk to end the fifth — and his night as the game was called after five innings.

Stanton hit a two-run homer off Max Scherzer (0-1) in the first, driving a 2-1 fastball an estimated 459 feet over the left-center field fence. He added an RBI single in the fifth after the Yankees loaded the bases on two walks and a bunt single by Tyler Wade.

Aaron Judge added an RBI double that scored Wade from first base with one out in the third.

The game started with the Nationals raising their 2019 World Series championship banner, along with players and coaches on both sides taking a knee before the national anthem.

Scherzer faced Cole for the first time since Game 1 of the 2019 World Series and lost the first regular-season meeting between the aces. He allowed four runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings while recording 11 strikeouts and four walks.

The game was halted with two on and one out in and Wade sitting on a 1-0 count in the top of the sixth. It was officially called nearly two hours later.

Heavy rain and lightning began as the sixth started and lightning bolts were seen in the background as commissioner Rob Manfred discussed the new playoff format with ESPN announcers Matt Vasgersian and Alex Rodriguez, who were calling the game remotely.

The Nationals played the game without star outfielder Juan Soto, who tested positive for coronavirus. Washington general manager Mike Rizzo said Soto was asymptomatic and will self-quarantine.

Before the game, the ceremonial first pitch was thrown by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Wearing a Nationals jersey and facemask, Fauci made a throw that was wide of home plate and Sean Doolittle who was lined up to catch the ball.

–Field Level Media

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