Blanco throws a no-hitter in Houston's rout of Toronto

Houston Astros starting pitcher Ronel Blanco, right, celebrates with catcher Yainer Diaz after throwing a no hitter in a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Monday, April 1, 2024, in Houston. (AP Photo/Kevin M. Cox)

By The Associated Press

HOUSTON (AP) — Ronel Blanco of the Houston Astros threw the first no-hitter in the major leagues this season, blanking the Toronto Blue Jays 10-0 on Monday night.

The right-hander struck out seven and walked two. He walked George Springer to start the game and again with two outs in the ninth. When Vladimir Guerrero Jr. grounded out to end it, Blanco smiled broadly before raising his arms above his head just before being mobbed by teammates.

It was the 17th no-hitter in Astros history and the first in the majors since Philadelphia’s Michael Lorenzen threw one against the Washington Nationals on Aug. 9 of last year.


CHICAGO (AP) — Shota Imanaga pitched six sparkling innings in his major league debut, and the Chicago Cubs used another defensive mistake by Nolan Jones to beat Colorado.

Working in short sleeves on a cold, gray afternoon, Imanaga struck out nine in Chicago’s home opener. The Japanese left-hander, who signed a $53 million, four-year contract with the Cubs in January, allowed two singles and walked none.

Dakota Hudson also was impressive in his first start for Colorado, but a pair of errors on Jones on one play in the sixth sent the right-hander to the loss.

With one out and runners on first and second in a scoreless game, Christopher Morel lined a single into left field. The ball went under the glove of a charging Jones and rolled all the way to the wall.

Ian Happ and Seiya Suzuki raced home as the Wrigley Field crowd of 40,072 roared its approval. Jones’ throw from the warning track got away from second baseman Brendan Rodgers in the outfield grass, and Morel scored on a headfirst slide.


CHICAGO (AP) — Austin Riley hit a three-run homer, Charlie Morton threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings and the Braves beat the White Sox in a game shortened to eight innings because of rain.

The 40-year-old Morton (1-0) — the oldest starter in the majors this season — allowed three hits, walked two and struck out six in his season debut to hand Chicago its fourth loss in as many games.

“I felt fine,” Morton said after the start of his 17th season. “We used all the tools today and anytime you can do that, it’s fun.”

Riley’s homer, off reliever Dominic Leone, came one pitch after the end of a 44-minute rain delay. He finished the day with four RBIs.

“I don’t know how the heck he did that,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said of Riley’s first home run of the season. “That’s why these guys knock in a hundred runs; they don’t leave many out there.”

The game was halted again after the eighth and called 20 minutes later.


WASHINGTON (AP) — Pittsburgh improved to 5-0 for the first time since 1983, beating Washington.

Michael A. Taylor, a former member of the Nationals, had three hits, and Bryan Reynolds, Andrew McCutchen, Alika Williams and Henry Davis delivered two apiece. Reynolds stretched his on-base streak to 33 consecutive games dating to last season with a first-inning single and tacked on a two-run double in the ninth.

Pittsburgh led 3-1 entering the seventh, but backup catcher Riley Adams — playing for the first time this season — tied the game for Washington by depositing a four-seam fastball 427 feet off reliever Roansy Contreras for a two-run homer. Contreras (1-0), though, got the win.

That’s because his teammates produced a three-run eighth off relievers Robert Garcia (0-1) and Matt Barnes. The big hit was Joe’s double to left that scored Taylor, who reached on a bunt. Ke’Bryan Hayes and McCutchen also drove in runs.

Aroldis Chapman got Lane Thomas to pop up for the final out with two men on, earning his first save of the season.


BALTIMORE (AP) — Jordan Westburg hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to carry Baltimore past the Kansas City.

Westburg’s opposite-field drive to right came on an 0-2 pitch from Nick Anderson (0-1) after the Royals rallied to tie the game in the top of the inning.

Ryan Mountcastle homered and drove in three runs for the Orioles.

Bobby Witt Jr. and Salvador Perez homered for the Royals, the second straight game in which each went deep.


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Dane Dunning took a one-hitter into the seventh inning and Josh Jung homered and drove in four runs Monday night to lead the defending World Series champion Texas to a victory over Tampa Bay.

In a rematch of clubs that met during the Rangers’ postseason run last fall, Dunning limited the Rays to Jose Siri’s third-inning double until Richie Palacios homered with one out in the seventh.

The right-hander didn’t retire another batter, departing after sandwiching a pair of walks around Siri’s two-run homer that trimmed Tampa Bay’s deficit to 6-3.


PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Spencer Steer hit a grand slam in the 10th inning to lift Cincinnati to a victory over Philadelphia.

Steer clubbed a 2-1, 91 mph fastball off Connor Brogdon (0-1).

Bryce Harper was hitless again in his return to Philadelphia’s lineup after an off day. He was in his usual spot, batting third and playing first base. He went 0 for 5 with two strikeouts, falling to 0 for 11 with five strikeouts in three games.

With pinch-runner Bubba Thompson starting the 10th on second base, Brogdon walked Will Benson and Jonathan India. He started Steer with two balls before a called strike made the count 2-1. Steer lined the next pitch over the wall in left-center field.


NEW YORK (AP) — Carson Kelly hit a three-run homer to cap a five-run 10th inning, and Detroit extended their best start in almost a decade with a 5-0 victory over the New York Mets, who fell to 0-4 for the first time since 2005.

The teams combined to get just two runners — one apiece — into scoring position in the first nine innings before the Tigers broke the tie in the 10th.

Spencer Torkelson and Parker Meadows scored on a grounder by Colt Keith and a sacrifice fly by Javier Báez, respectively, before Kelly homered to left against Michael Tonkin (0-1).

Jason Foley (1-0) struck out two in the ninth before Shelby Miller tossed a perfect 10th for the Tigers, who are 4-0 for the first time since going 6-0 in 2015.


OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Tanner Houck struck out 10 batters in six scoreless innings and Boston capitalized on five early errors by Oakland.

Jarren Duran had three hits and three steals in the first three innings, Trevor Story added a two-run double and Ceddanne Rafaela hit two sacrifice flies to help Boston score eight runs in the first three innings against the mistake-prone A’s.

Houck (1-0) did the rest with the latest strong start for Boston, allowing three hits and no walks.

Chase Anderson finished the four-hitter for his first save.

Joe Boyle (0-1) allowed eight runs — seven earned — and eight hits in 2 2-3 innings in his first start of the season to take the loss for Oakland.


SEATTLE (AP) — Dominic Canzone hit a three-run homer and Julio Rodríguez thrilled the crowd with a pair of highlight-reel catches as Seattle beat Cleveland.

Canzone’s big fly came in the bottom of the second inning against Guardians starter Triston McKenzie (0-1). Ty France put the Mariners on the board earlier in the inning with an RBI single, and Canzone made it 4-0 with a 411-foot home run to center field, his first of the season.

Cleveland answered with two runs in the top of the third, as Ramón Laureano was hit by a pitch and Bo Naylor and Brayan Rocchio singled to load the bases. Laureano then scored on a groundout from Steven Kwan, while Naylor scored on a Andrés Giménez sacrifice fly to make it 4-2.

Cleveland’s Tyler Freeman chased Mariners starter Emerson Hancock from the game with a solo homer in the top of the sixth. Hancock (1-0) pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing four hits and three earned runs for his first MLB win.


SAN DIEGO (AP) — Willson Contreras and Brendan Donovan each hit a two-run home run, Kyle Gibson was dominant and St. Louis beat San Diego.

Gibson (1-0), a 36-year-old right-hander who’s with his fifth big league team, allowed home runs to rookie Jackson Merrill and Fernando Tatis Jr., but otherwise dominated. He allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings while striking out four and walking two.

The Cardinals didn’t go easy on their former skipper and knuckleballer Matt Waldron, taking a 3-0 lead after just five batters. Donovan hit a leadoff single and scored on Nolan Arenado’s two-out RBI double. Contreras then homered to center field, his first.


PHOENIX (AP) — Luis Gil had a successful outing in his return from Tommy John surgery and the New York Yankees started the season on a five-game winning streak for the first time in 32 years, beating the Arizona.

Anthony Volpe had his first career four-hit game — including two doubles — and an RBI.

Gil made his first MLB appearance since May 12, 2022, firing an impressive fastball that touched 100 miles per hour.

Arizona’s Ketel Marte had one of the team’s four hits and two RBIs, both on sacrifice flies.


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Freddie Freeman had three hits, Teoscar Hernández homered for the second straight game and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat San Francisco.

James Paxton (1-0) threw five scoreless innings in his debut for the Dodgers, who have won four of their last five.

San Francisco’s Michael Conforto had a solo shot down the right-field line in the sixth. Keaton Winn (0-1) allowed three runs and struck out six in five innings.