Series: Game 1 of 3

Atlanta leads 1-0 (as of 4/5)

Game 1: Monday, April 5
Chi Cubs5Final
Game 2: Wednesday, April 7
Chi Cubs2Final
Game 3: Thursday, April 8
Chi Cubs2Final

Cubs 5

(0-1, 0-1 away)

Braves 16

(1-0, 1-0 home)

    4:10 PM ET, April 5, 2010

    Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia 

    123456789 R H E
    CHC 302000000 5 5 2
    ATL 62000062 - 16 12 0

    W: D. Lowe (1-0)

    L: C. Zambrano (0-1)

    Heyward homers in first at-bat as Braves crush Cubs, Zambrano

    Associated Press

    ATLANTA -- His face and head covered in shaving cream and his first home run ball stashed safely away, Jason Heyward stood in front of his locker and beamed.

    "I had a blast," he said.

    He stole the show on Opening Day.

    Isaacson: Making Strides

    Carlos Zambrano imploded vs. the Braves on Monday, but he spared us from a tantrum in the Cubs' historically bad season opener, writes Melissa Isaacson. Story

    • Crasnick: Heyward is a star

    Minutes after catching the ceremonial first pitch from Hank Aaron, Heyward hit a three-run homer in his first major league at-bat to spark the Braves to a 16-5 opening win Monday over Carlos Zambrano and the Chicago Cubs.

    Heyward, who also had a run-scoring single in the eighth, was 2 for 5 with four RBIs.

    "It was the first of many career highlights for him," said Atlanta's Chipper Jones. "That was impressive, that was very impressive."

    Braves fans in the sellout crowd eagerly embraced Heyward, from Henry County, about 30 minutes south of Atlanta.

    Fans chanted "Let's go, Heyward!" as he confidently took two pitches in his first-inning at-bat, then sent a fastball from Zambrano into the Braves' bullpen behind the right-field wall on his first swing, sending the crowd over the top.

    Early Exit

    Carlos Zambrano became the first pitcher to allow eight earned runs in two or fewer innings in an Opening Day start since Kevin Tapani did it in 1998, also for the Cubs.

    8 ER Allowed in 2 or Fewer IP Opening Day Starter, Since 1952
    Carlos Zambrano, CHC 2010
    Kevin Tapani, CHC 1998
    Brad Havens, MIN 1983

    "I don't know that I've ever heard this stadium that loud," Jones said.

    Added Heyward when asked how he felt as he ran around the bases: "I felt my legs but I couldn't hear myself think, it was so loud."

    After the game, Braves reliever Peter Moylan crept behind a crowd of reporters and hit the rookie with a towel full of shaving cream.

    "I guess shaving cream is a good thing," Heyward said with a smile.

    Yunel Escobar drove in a career-high five runs as Zambrano gave up eight runs in 1 1/3 innings, matching the shortest of 239 career starts.

    Marlon Byrd, playing his first game with the Cubs, hit a three-run homer in the first inning and Aramis Ramirez added a two-run drive in the third.

    Derek Lowe (1-0) gave up five runs, five hits and three walks in six innings before a sellout crowd of 53,081, a record for a day game in Atlanta and was the fourth-largest overall in Atlanta history.

    Off And Running

    The Braves scored their most runs in an Opening Day game since 1900, when they were the Boston Beaneaters. The Braves already bested their season-high for runs in 2009 (15) and almost scored as much as they did in six total games against the Cubs last season (18 runs).

    Most Runs On Opening Day,
    Last 30 Seasons
    Opp. Score
    2010 Braves Cubs 16-5
    2006 Cubs Reds 16-7
    2005 Cubs D'backs 16-6
    1983 Dodgers Astros 16-7
    1983 Padres Giants 16-13
    2006 Yankees Athletics 15-2
    2003 Cubs Mets 15-2
    1996 Brewers Angels 15-9
    1982 Brewers Blue Jays 15-4

    Brian McCann hit a homer in the second, when the Braves knocked out Zambrano (0-1), but Opening Day belonged to Heyward.

    "He's good," Zambrano said. "Anybody can be good with two balls and no strikes, but you have to give him credit."

    The 20-year-old Heyward became the sixth Braves player to homer in his debut, the fourth to do so in his first plate appearance. Jordan Schafer also did it last season.

    Heyward answered cheers from the fans by tipping his cap at the edge of the dugout.

    Heyward (6-foot-5, 240) won the starting job in right field despite playing only 50 games above Class A in his quick rise through the minor leagues. He was selected baseball's top prospect by Baseball America after hitting .323 with 17 homers and 63 RBIs at three minor league stops in 2009, and was put on the major league roster by the Braves just last Saturday.

    "Jason had a spectacular day, really," said Braves manager Bobby Cox. "He'll have his struggles, probably, like any other 20-year-old in the big leagues, but he's a very talented kid. And when he's not hitting, he's going to help us in the outfield. He's a very gifted athlete."

    Atlanta sent 10 batters to the plate in both the first and seventh innings.

    "It was something of an embarrassing loss," said Cubs manager Lou Piniella. "Never did I anticipate we'd give up 16 runs on opening day, not in my wildest dreams."

    In the first, Chipper Jones drove in Melky Cabrera when his shallow fly ball fell between shortstop Ryan Theriot and Byrd in center for a single. Escobar added a two-run single before Heyward's line-drive homer.

    Making his sixth straight Opening Day start for the Cubs, Zambrano gave up six hits and two walks with one strikeout.

    "I left some pitches over the middle," Zambrano said. "When you do that at this level, you're going to get crushed."

    Braves center fielder Nate McLouth made running catches of drives hit by Ramirez in the first and Derrek Lee in the fifth. McLouth was credited with a diving catch of a ball hit by Byrd in the left-center gap in the sixth, though a replay showed the ball popped out of McLouth's glove when he hit the ground.

    As umpires called out Byrd, McLouth threw the ball back to Escobar, whose throw to first base forced out Ramirez.

    Piniella argued the ruling that McLouth made the catch. The umpires huddled but did not overturn the original call.

    Escobar had a three-run double, and pinch-hitter Eric Hinske added a run-scoring triple off Jeff Samardzija in the seventh. Samardzija walked three batters in the six-run inning.

    Six Chicago pitchers combined for eight walks.

    "The thing that was so upsetting was we didn't walk people in spring training," Piniella said. "I complimented our pitchers on that."

    Right-hander Takashi Saito and left-handed closer Billy Wagner pitched perfect innings in their Atlanta debuts to end the game.

    Game notes

    McCann received his 2009 Silver Slugger award before the game. ... New Cubs owner Tom Ricketts and his brother, Todd, attended the game. ... Sean Marshall had five strikeouts in 2 2/3 perfect innings behind Zambrano. ... Zambrano also lasted only 1 1/3 innings against Pittsburgh on Sept. 4, 2006. ... The other Braves to homer in their first plate appearances were Joe Harrington (1895); Johnny Bates (1906) and Jermaine Dye (1996).

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Game Information

    StadiumTurner Field, Atlanta, GA
    Attendance53,081 (107.5% full) - % is based on regular season capacity
    Game Time2:45
    Weather86 degrees, sunny
    Wind6 mph
    UmpiresHome Plate - Derryl Cousins, First Base - Jim Joyce, Second Base - Marvin Hudson, Third Base - Jim Wolf