Javier Baez hit two homers and drove in four runs to lead the Chicago Cubs to a 12-4, season-opening win against the Texas Rangers on Thursday afternoon in Arlington, Texas.
Baez became the first Cubs player with a multi-homer game in the season opener since Corey Patterson in 2003.
David Bote, Jason Heyward and Albert Almora Jr. had two hits each, and Kris Bryant drove in two of his three runs with an eighth-inning homer for Chicago.
Cubs left-hander Jon Lester (1-0) went six innings, allowing two runs and four hits with three strikeouts and two walks.
Elvis Andrus and Nomar Mazara each hit two-run homers for the Rangers.
Texas left-hander Mike Minor (0-1) pitched 4 2/3 innings, allowing six runs and five hits with three strikeouts and two walks.
Minor breezed through the first 3 2/3 innings before giving up a solo home run to Baez with two outs in the fourth to cut Texas’ lead to 2-1.
Minor started Chicago’s six-run fifth by hitting Bote with a pitch. He then gave up a single to Ben Zobrist, moving the runner to third. Heyward drove in Bote with an infield single to second base to tie the score, and No. 9 hitter Mark Zagunis followed with a double to center, scoring Zobrist and putting runners on second and third.
After Almora fanned, Bryant’s groundout to short made it 4-2. Anthony Rizzo then walked to end Minor’s day. Jesse Chavez entered and gave up a three-run homer to Baez on his first pitch for a 7-2 lead.
The Cubs tacked on two more runs in the sixth, another in the seventh and two more in the eighth on the home run by Bryant.
Lester, who went 11-2 with a 2.87 ERA in road games last season to tie a career high for away wins, only faced trouble in the first and third innings, both after two were out.
After Texas’ Rougned Odor doubled down the right field line with two outs in the third, Andrus hit a two-run homer for a 2-0 lead.
—Field Level Media