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Martini homers twice, Montas pitches 6 shutout innings and Reds beat Nationals 8-2 in opener

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CINCINNATI (AP) — Nick Martini said he felt a jolt in the Reds’ opening day crowd when he lined his second homer of the afternoon 405 feet into the right-field stands.

The 33-year-old was in the lineup batting eighth as the designated hitter, the first opening-day start of his big league career. He responded with a two-run homer in the second inning and a three-run drive in the third as Cincinnati cruised to an 8-2 win over the Washington Nationals on Thursday.

“I know it’s only one game, but it feels good in front of that many fans and the city,” said Martini, the first Reds player to hit two homers on opening day since Adam Dunn in 2007. “I kind of felt it, especially after the second one. I kind of just felt how loud it got. It was just awesome.”

Frankie Montas pitched six shutout innings in his Cincinnati debut.

Montas (1-0) joined with Reds with a $16 million, one-year deal as a free agent and the 31-year-old right-hander allowed four hits in six innings, striking out four and walking none in his 100th career start. He had labrum surgery last Feb. 21 while with the New York Yankees and made his only big league appearance of the year on Sept. 30.

“I was just trying to go out there and have fun and just put in a good performance,” Montas said. “I know what I can do when I’m healthy. People know what I can do when I’m healthy. This is a healthy Frankie Montas. This is a healthy version of me. So I’m just trying to enjoy every part of it.”

Martini is playing with his fourth major league team since 2018 and got the opportunity Thursday because of spring training injuries to TJ Friedl and Matt McClain. He hit a first-pitch slider out to right in the second inning and lined a 2-1 cutter into the same neighborhood the next inning.

“We’ve known this guy can hit, so for it to all come out opening day and his first one, which us surprising or shocking when you think about it because this guy has been a good player for a long time,” Reds manager David Bell said. “We saw a pretty good sample of what he is able to do and why he is good.”

Spencer Steer had two hits and two RBIs for Cincinnati.

Josiah Gray (0-1) matched his career high by allowing seven runs, giving up eight hits in four innings with six strikeouts and two walks.

Eddie Rosario, making his Nationals debut after being added to the major league roster, hit a two-run homer in the seventh against Emilio Pagán.

“We need to come back strong,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “Opening day is always weird. A lot of adrenaline. We chased a lot of pitches. We didn’t do that in the spring.”

UP NEXT

Lefty Patrick Corbin is scheduled to start for the Nationals against Reds right-hander Hunter Greene as the series continues on Saturday.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

By MITCH STACY
AP Sports Writer

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