The Sports Report: Dodgers prevail in their home opener

Dodgers players celebrate after defeating the St. Louis Cardinals 7-1 in their home opener Thursday at Dodger Stadium.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Howdy, I’m your host, Austin Knoblauch, filling in for Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

From Jack Harris: To Dave Roberts, Thursday afternoon felt nostalgically, longingly, thankfully familiar.

The afternoon start time. The red, white and blue bunting. Even the traffic clogging up Vin Scully Avenue on the first of his 80 commutes, at least, into Chavez Ravine this year.


“You feel the buzz,” said Roberts, entering his ninth year as Dodgers manager. “Nothing like opening day here at Dodger Stadium.”

This year, especially.

After a historic $1.4-billion offseason spree, a winter of mounting fan base anticipation, a spring camp of tantalizing flashes from a star-studded lineup, and a confounding theft and gambling scandal surrounding Shohei Ohtani and his ex-interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, Roberts and the Dodgers were more than ready to plunge into the regular season.

In a 7-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday, they did so with a resounding splash.

“Everyone’s excited. Everyone has World Series aspirations,” first baseman Freddie Freeman said. “But once the game starts, it kind of all goes away. You just got to go out there and get the win.”

This rout was keyed by the Dodgers’ two biggest offseason acquisitions.

Continue reading here

Plaschke: Dodgers’ Big Three makes big opening statement in home-opening win

Shaikin: His MLB future still uncertain, Julio Urías has become an invisible man


Dodgers-Cardinals box score

MLB scores

MLB standings

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Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani looks back from first base after hitting a single.
Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani looks back from first base after hitting a single in the fifth inning Thursday against the St. Louis Cardinals.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

From Dylan Hernández: Scandal? What scandal?

Shohei Ohtani might as well have been talking about a television show he watched the night before or his commute to Dodger Stadium in the morning.


He was calm, even welcoming, when I approached him on Thursday before the Dodgers’ 7-1 home-opening victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Ohtani nodded when I mentioned the unanswered questions that remained after he publicly accused former interpreter Ippei Mizuhara three days earlier of stealing money from him to settle gambling debts.

“I said all I could say at this point,” Ohtani said in Japanese.

Did he know how Mizuhara gained access to his bank account or how millions of dollars in wire transfers went unnoticed?

“It’s under investigation,” Ohtani said, “so I can’t say anything.”

Continue reading here

More on Ohtani:

Ohtani says he’s cooperating with investigators. Yasiel Puig offers a cautionary tale


The mysterious life — and questionable claims — of Shohei Ohtani’s interpreter


Oscar Dela Cruz holds up the ball and is guarded by guard Kiki Rice during a UCLA women's basketball practice.
Scout team player Oscar Dela Cruz holds up the ball and is guarded by guard Kiki Rice during a UCLA women’s basketball practice.
(Courtesy of UCLA Athletics)

From Ben Bolch: If things start to go sideways against Louisiana State and flamboyant star Angel Reese, UCLA can always go back to the mantra that has carried it through difficult moments.

They don’t have a Jonny. They don’t have an O2. We’ve got this.

Jonny is Jonny Garnett, a 6-foot-4 super freak of an athlete who can touch the top of the rectangle on the backboard above the rim.

“O2” is Oscar Dela Cruz, a speck of a point guard who irritates with quickness and shooting.


They are part of a male scout team that routinely befuddles the Bruins women’s basketball players in practices and scrimmages, beating them with stronger bodies, faster moves, higher hops.

“If we’re just going to go athleticism on athleticism,” UCLA guard Camryn Brown said, “they’d beat us every time.”

Continue reading here


Angels star Mike Trout makes his way to home plate after hitting a home run.
Angels star Mike Trout makes his way to home plate after hitting a home run during the first inning of the Angels’ season-opening loss to Baltimore on Thursday.
(Julia Nikhinson / Associated Press)

From the Associated Press: Corbin Burnes’ debut in Baltimore was everything his new team could have wanted.

The Orioles’ new ace was excellent — and their offense showed why they’re the reigning AL East champions.

“One bad pitch through six innings. Just awesome, awesome performance,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “That’s not easy to do. New team, opening day, a lot of jitters, probably pretty anxious, and go out and do what he just did is really impressive.”


Burnes allowed one baserunner in a dominant six innings, and Anthony Santander and Cedric Mullins both homered as the Orioles began their division defense with an 11-3 rout of the Angels on Thursday.

Continue reading here

Angels-Orioles box score


San Francisco Giants manager Bob Melvin, left, smiles as he talks with agent Scott Boras and Blake Snell.
San Francisco Giants manager Bob Melvin, left, smiles as he talks with agent Scott Boras, center, before Blake Snell, right, is introduced as the Giants’ newest pitcher during a news conference on March 20.
(Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)

From Bill Shaikin: No matter how high the projected contracts or reported bids for outfielder Cody Bellinger or pitcher Blake Snell might have been last winter, the agent for both players said he was aware early on that the players would have to choose between a high annual salary over the short term or a lower annual salary over the long term.

“We knew that going in,” agent Scott Boras said Thursday at Dodger Stadium, before the Dodgers played their home opener against the St. Louis Cardinals.


Bellinger signed with the Chicago Cubs for three years and $80 million, Snell with the San Francisco Giants for two years and $62 million. Both players can opt out at the end of each season.

Bellinger hit .307 with 26 home runs for the Cubs last season, but after two consecutive seasons with the Dodgers in which he performed below league average. Snell won the National League Cy Young award last season, pitching 180 innings with a league-leading 2.25 earned-run average for the San Diego Padres, but after consecutive seasons in which he pitched 128 innings both times.

Continue reading here


Kings captain Anze Kopitar fends off Edmonton Oilers forward Warren Foegele.
Kings captain Anze Kopitar fends off Edmonton Oilers forward Warren Foegele during the third period of the Kings’ 4-1 loss Thursday.
(Curtis Comeau / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

From the Associated Press: Connor McDavid had a goal and two assists and the Edmonton Oilers beat the Kings 4-1 on Thursday night in a matchup of teams jostling for home ice in a possible first-round playoff clash.

Leon Draisaitl had three assists, Evan Bouchard had a goal and an assist, and Adam Henrique and Cody Ceci also scored for the Oilers. They are 44-23-4, going 15-2-2 at home since Jan. 1 to move five points up on the Kings for second place in the Pacific Division with a game in hand.


“It’s always hard against these guys. They are as solid as they come,” McDavid said. “They’re structured and responsible. They’re good, it’s always difficult. It requires a patient game, a mature game. I thought we showed that on all levels.”

Stuart Skinner made 32 saves, allowing only Arthur Kaliyev’s goal.

“It’s nice to get this win and have a little more leeway in home-ice advantage,” Skinner said. “But at the same time these guys play hard every single night and know what they have to do against us. It’s always a great battle playing against them. If we face them it will be very exciting.”

Continue reading here

Kings-Oilers box score

NHL scores

NHL standings



Seattle Kraken center Jaden Schwartz celebrates after scoring past Ducks goaltender Lukas Dostal.
Seattle Kraken center Jaden Schwartz celebrates after scoring past Ducks goaltender Lukas Dostal during the first period of the Ducks’ 4-2 loss Thursday night.
(Jason Redmond / Associated Press)

From the Associated Press: Tye Kartye scored the go-ahead goal with 6:57 left in the third period and the Seattle Kraken rallied to beat the Ducks 4-2 on Thursday night to sweep a two-game set.

Jaden Schwartz, Andre Burakovsky and Matty Beniers all had power-play goals for the Kraken, who overcame a 2-1 deficit after allowing two short-handed goals early in the third period. Jared McCann had three assists and Philipp Grubauer made 21 saves.

Seattle has beaten the Ducks six straight times, including a 4-0 win on Tuesday night that snapped an eight-game losing streak.

Jakob Silfverberg had a goal and an assist and Isac Lundestrom also scored for the Ducks, who are 1-9-1 in their last 11 games. Lukas Dostal stopped 24 shots.

Continue reading here


Ducks-Kraken box score


NBA scores

NBA standings


Men’s bracket

Men’s schedule
All times Pacific

West Region
No. 6 Clemson 77, No. 2 Arizona 72
No.4 Alabama 89, No. 1 North Carolina 87

East Region
No. 1 Connecticut 82, No. 5 San Diego State 52
No. 3 Illinois 72, No. 2 Iowa State 69

South Region
No. 2 Marquette vs. No. 11 North Carolina St., 4:09 p.m. CBS
No. 1 Houston vs, No. 4 Duke, 6:39 p.m., CBS

Midwest Region
No. 1 Purdue vs. No. 5 Gonzaga, 4:39 p.m., TBS/truTV
No. 2 Tennessee vs. No. 3 Creighton, 7:09 p.m., TBS/truTV

No. 3 Illinois vs. No. 1 Connecticut, 3:09 p.m., TBS
No. 6 Clemson vs. No. 4 Alabama, 5:49 p.m., TBS

Elite Eight: Saturday-Sunday
Final Four: April 6 (Glendale, Ariz.)
Championship: April 8 (Glendale, Ariz.)


Women’s bracket


Women’s schedule
All times Pacific


No. 2 Notre Dame vs. No. 3 Oregon St., 11:30 a.m., ESPN
No. 1 South Carolina vs. No. 4 Indiana, 2 p.m., ESPN

No. 2 Stanford vs. No. 3 North Carolina St., 4:30 p.m., ESPN
No. 1 Texas vs. No. 4 Gonzaga, 7 p.m., ESPN

No. 2 UCLA vs. No. 3 LSU, 10 a.m., ABC
No. 1 Iowa vs. No. 5 Colorado, 12:30 p.m., ABC

No. 1 USC vs. No. 5 Baylor, 2:30 p.m., ESPN
No. 3 Connecticut vs. No. 7 Duke, 5 p.m., ESPN

Elite Eight: Sunday-Monday
Final Four: April 5 (Cleveland)
Championship: April 7 (Cleveland)


1929 — The Boston Bruins win the Stanley Cup with a 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers to complete a two-game sweep.

1940 — Joe Louis knocks out Johnny Paychek in the second round at Madison Square Garden in New York to retain the world heavyweight title.

1941 — Wisconsin, led by Gene Englund’s 13 points, wins the NCAA basketball championship with a 39-34 victory over Washington State.

1952 — George Mikan of the Minneapolis Lakers scores an NBA playoff record 47 points in an 88-78 loss in Game 1 of the Western Division Finals against Rochester.


1960 — Boston’s Bill Russell pulls down an NBA Finals record 40 rebounds, as the Celtics lose to St. Louis 113-103 to even the series at 1-1. Bob Petit has 35 points and 22 rebounds for the Hawks.

1962 — Elgin Baylor (45) and Jerry West (41) of the Los Angeles Lakers become the first teammates to both score 40 or more points in an NBA Playoff game. It isn’t enough as the Lakers lose to Detroit, 118-117, in Game 4 of the Western Division finals.

1966 — Muhammad Ali defeats George Chuvalo in 15 rounds for the heavyweight boxing title.

1976 — Indiana beats Michigan, 86-68. First time 2 teams from the same conference (Big Ten) play in title game.

1982 — Michael Jordan’s jump shot with 16 seconds remaining gives North Carolina a 63-62 victory over Georgetown for the NCAA men’s basketball championship.

1984 — The NFL Colts leave the city of Baltimore in the early hours of the morning, headed for Indianapolis.

1985 — Wayne Gretzky breaks own NHL season record with 126th assist.

1990 — Houston’s Akeem Olajuwon is the third player in NBA history to achieve a quadruple double during a 120-94 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. He scores 18 points, 16 rebounds, 11 blocked shots and 10 assists.


1992 — Olympic champion Kristi Yamaguchi becomes the first American woman to win consecutive world figure skating championships since Peggy Fleming in 1968.

1994 — Jimmy Johnson quits as Head Coach of the Dallas Cowboys.

1996 — The Vancouver Grizzlies break the NBA record for consecutive losses in a season with their 21st in a 105-91 loss to the Utah Jazz. The 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers and the 1993-94 Dallas Mavericks lost 20 straight.

1996 — Cleveland Browns choose new name for their relocated team - Baltimore Ravens.

1999 — UConn beats Duke 77-74 in the Men’s NCAA National Title game. Huskies’ first National Championship.

2003 — Michelle Kwan becomes the third American to win five World Figure Skating Championships. Kwan, a seven-time U.S. champion, ties Dick Button and Carol Heiss for most world crowns by an American.

2008 — Curlin rolls to a record-setting 7 3/4-length victory in the $6 million Dubai World Cup, the world’s richest race. Curlin is the fourth horse to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic and then take the World Cup the following year.

2015 — Seventh-seeded Michigan State caps an improbable Final Four run with 76-70 overtime victory over Louisville. Duke beats Gonzaga 66-52 to send coach Mike Krzyzewski to a 12th Final Four, matching coaching record by John Wooden.


2015 — Belmont breaks three NCAA Division I records and tied a fourth during a 20-run sixth inning in a 34-10 victory over UT Martin.

2016 — The United States fail to qualify for consecutive Olympic men’s soccer tournaments for the first time in a half century. Roger Martinez scores twice, Americans Luis Gil and Matt Miazga are ejected and Colombia’s under-23 team defeats the U.S. 2-1 to earn the last berth in the Rio de Janeiro Games with a 3-2 aggregate win in the two-leg, total-goals series.

2017 — Russell Westbrook has 57 points — the most in a triple-double in NBA history — 13 rebounds and 11 assists to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 114-106 overtime win over the Orlando Magic.

Compiled by the Associated Press

And finally

Freddie Freeman’s two-run home run for the Dodgers in their home opener against the St. Louis Cardinals was a thing of beauty. Check it out here.

Until next time...

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