Youth serves Harper well on Opening Day

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Bryce Harper's home runs came in the first and fourth innings, both off Ricky Nolasco.

It's hard to make as immediate of an impact on a season as Bryce Harper did with home runs in his first two at-bats on Monday.

In doing so, Harper became the youngest player in MLB history with a multi-home run game in his team's Opening Day. That honor previously belonged to Don Money, a Philadelphia Phillies shortstop who in 1969 went deep twice off Ferguson Jenkins.

But what about doing it in his first two at-bats? The Elias Sports Bureau helped inform us that Harper became the first player in Nationals/Expos franchise history with home runs in his first two at-bats of the season, regardless of age. The only other players in franchise history to hit a pair of home runs on Opening Day in any at-bats were Vladimir Guerrero (2000) and Al Oliver (1983).

The home runs were a necessity, not a luxury, since they accounted for the only runs of the game in a 2-0 win. That made Harper just the third player in the live-ball era to have two home runs in an Opening Day game where his team only scored two runs.

And the others both lost.

They were Luis Gonzalez for the Diamondbacks in 2004, and Joe Torre for the Braves in 1966.

More tidbits from the afternoon action on Opening Day...

Edinson Volquez gave up six runs to the Mets and was pulled after recording just nine outs.

Edinson Volquez


Five of the last six seasons have seen exactly one opening-day starter not record more than 9 outs. Last year's distinction went to Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers. In 2011 it was the Indians' Roberto Hernandez and Carlos Zambrano of the Cubs did it in 2010.

In franchise history, the only other Padres starter to get 9 outs or fewer on Opening Day was Andy Ashby, who allowed eight hits and six runs to the Rockies in the first inning on April 4, 1999.

• The New York Mets Collin Cowgill hit a grand slam in the seventh inning, joining Todd Hundley as the only Mets players with Opening Day grand slams in franchise history.

Cowgill also become the first Mets player to hit a grand slam while batting first in the lineup since Angel Pagan on Aug. 1, 2009.

• The Yankees' 8-2 loss was their first home loss on Opening Day since 1982. They'd won 11 straight such games.

Plus, in every Opening Day game since 1999 the Yankees had scored at least two runs. Monday was the first time they were held to two runs or fewer on Opening Day since a 4-1 loss to the Angels in 1998. Andy Pettitte was the Yankees Opening Day starter that year.

• Finally, no one homered in the Red Sox-Yankees game this afternoon. Since the new Yankee Stadium opened in 2009, that has happened only three other times in 72 games between the teams, all at Fenway Park.