Paul Goldschmidt
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Paul Goldschmidt hits three homers for Cardinals

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There’s no question that Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt deserves every penny of the five-year, $130 million extension he signed with St. Louis last week. Still, it certainly didn’t hurt that he followed up a hitless debut on Opening Day with four hits — including three home runs — when he faced the Brewers for Game 2 on Friday.

Goldschmidt wasted little time getting the Cardinals on the board in the first inning. Matt Carpenter drew a leadoff walk from Milwaukee right-hander Freddy Peralta, followed by a 10-pitch at-bat from Goldschmidt that eventually resulted in a two-RBI home run — his first-ever homer for the club.

The Brewers kept pace through the first five innings, answering the home run (and Yadier Molina‘s RBI double) with a Ryan Braun three-run dinger in the third. Brewers righty Taylor Williams took the mound at the top of the sixth inning, but was quickly foiled by Goldschmidt as well: this time with a 106-m.p.h., 415-foot solo shot that gave the Cardinals a 5-4 advantage.

The Brewers barely had time to catch their breath before Goldschmidt stepped up to bat again. Following a fruitless sixth inning, Milwaukee turned to right-hander Jacob Barnes to get the job down in the seventh. He surrendered a leadoff single to Kolten Wong, then induced a fly out from Harrison Bader and punched out José Martínez on a full count. Things started to unravel with Matt Carpenter’s run-scoring single, however, and came completely undone as Goldschmidt unloaded his third home run of the night, a 406-footer that tilted the score 8-4 in the Cardinals’ favor.

While it looked as though Goldschmidt might have gotten a shot at a fourth home run — making him the 19th MLB player to record the feat, and the second since J.D. Martinez to do so off of four different pitchers in one game — he was denied the opportunity after getting intentionally walked in the ninth. Still, he managed to make some pretty cool history even so: according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, he’s just the sixth player since 1919 to deliver a three-homer performance within the first two games of the season.

Clayton Kershaw to make Opening Day start for Dodgers

Clayton Kershaw Opening Day
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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts confirmed it in March and he confirmed it again on Tuesday: Clayton Kershaw will start on Opening Day, Jorge Castillo of The Los Angeles Times reports.

The Dodgers are one of four teams that will open the 60-game regular season schedule on July 23; everyone else begins play on the 24th. With a 10 PM ET start, the Dodgers will host the Giants at Dodger Stadium.

Johnny Cueto will likely pitch opposite Kershaw for the Giants. Cueto was named the Giants’ Opening Day starter on March 11, before the league shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Manager Gabe Kapler hasn’t yet officially named an Opening Day starter for the makeshift season.

Kershaw, 32, made the Opening Day start eight consecutive times for the Dodgers from 2011-18. Hyun-Jin Ryu, now a Blue Jay, pitched on Opening Day last season for the Dodgers. Last year, Kershaw logged 178 1/3 innings over 28 starts and one relief appearance, his highest innings total since 2015. He went 16-5 with a 3.03 ERA, 189 strikeouts, and 41 walks.