NEW YORK (AP) — Bartolo Colon enjoyed the whole evening — the nods and taps from former teammates, the tributes from the crowd.
He liked the result, too. Long after he exited, his Atlanta Braves earned their first win of the season.
Colon returned to Citi Field and made a sharp debut for his new club, and Matt Kemp’s third double of the game in the 12th inning lifted the Braves over the New York Mets 3-1 on Wednesday night.
“To be honest, I do feel at home here. We had a great relationship,” Colon said through a translator. “I definitely wanted to show my appreciation.”
Kemp’s two-out, bases-loaded liner off Rafael Montero (0-1) helped the Braves bounce back from losing on opening day. Jim Johnson (1-0) worked two scoreless innings.
Colon was perhaps the most popular Mets player over the previous three seasons. He led the team in wins, starts and innings last year, then became a free agent, left the pitching-rich Mets and signed with a guaranteed spot in the Braves’ rotation.
The Mets honored Colon with a pregame montage on the video board, highlighting his pitching, fielding and first career home run last year. Fans cheered as the clips ended with: “Welcome Back Bart.”
“How can you not like that guy?” Braves manager Brian Snitker said.
Pitching a day after the 20th anniversary of his major league debut, and now just more than a month shy of turning 44, Colon was as nifty as ever. He tossed two-hit ball — including a home run by Jay Bruce — for six innings, striking out six and walking one.
Mets manager Terry Collins had seen this plenty of times. In fact, he was managing the Angels when Colon pitched his first big league game in 1997.
“He is what he is. We sat there in about the fourth inning and we said, ‘Well, this is vintage Bartolo,’” Collins said.
Jacob deGrom threw six shutout innings for the Mets. The shaggy-haired ace needed surgery last September to reposition a nerve in his pitching elbow. He gave up two hits, struck out six and walked one.
Colon drew a standing ovation when he came to bat in the third, tipping his hat to the announced crowd of 28,113 and pointing to the sky. Earlier, Curtis Granderson nodded toward his former teammate when he hit.
Colon’s performance came after he posted an 8.66 ERA in spring training.
“When the lights come on, it’s a totally different thing,” Colon said.
The portly pitcher was playful, as always.
As he walked from the bullpen to the dugout before the game, Colon sneaked up behind a security guard and bounced a ball off the man’s belly, and they both laughed. When Colon grounded out in the sixth, he carried his bat down the line and jogged with it the whole way back to the bench, cracking up deGrom.
“You’ve got to smile at Bart,” deGrom said.
Dodgers 3, Padres 1
LOS ANGELES — Rich Hill pitched five innings of two-hit ball, Yasiel Puig hit his first home run of the season and Los Angeles beat San Diego.
Hill (1-0) struck out five, walked three and allowed Hunter Renfroe’s homer in his first start since signing a $48 million, three-year free agent contract in the offseason. Relievers Sergio Romo, Alex Wood and Kenley Jansen shut the Padres down the rest of the way, and Jansen pitched the ninth inning for his first save of the season.
The left-handed Hill was hit by a pitch in his right hand while batting in the second inning. After a short delay, he remained in the game.
Trevor Cahill (0-1) allowed three runs over 5ª innings in his first start with San Diego.
Nationals 6, Marlins 4
WASHINGTON — Bryce Harper had two RBIs and a nice ninth-inning catch, Ryan Zimmerman homered and Tanner Roark recovered from a shaky start to go six innings, leading Washington past Miami.
Roark (1-0) allowed two runs in the first inning, then hit two men and threw a wild pitch in the second, but he wound up retiring 13 of the last 14 batters he faced.
The reliever who replaced him to begin the seventh, Enny Romero, plunked Derek Dietrich, which led to some jawing between the two and the ejection of Marlins manager Don Mattingly. Dietrich also was hit by Roark.
Blake Treinen pitched the ninth for his second save.
Zimmerman’s opposite-field shot in the second off a high fastball from Dan Straily (0-1) put Washington on the board.
Reds 2, Phillies 0
CINCINNATI — Brandon Finnegan allowed only one hit in seven innings, retiring the last 19 batters he faced, and Joey Votto homered for his first hit of the season, sending Cincinnati over Philadelphia.
The start of the game was delayed 50 minutes because of storms. The middle innings were played through a steady rain that worked to the pitchers’ favor.
Finnegan (1-0) allowed a walk in the first inning and Maikel Franco’s single to center. He then retired 19 straight, fanning nine of them, and threw 88 pitches in all.
Raisel Iglesias gave up an infield single before completing the four-hitter for his first save.
Votto led off the seventh with a home run off Jerad Eickhoff (0-1).
Diamondbacks 8, Giants 6
PHOENIX — Chris Owings reached safely four times and stole two bases, and Arizona scored seven consecutive runs in coming back from a three-run deficit to beat San Francisco.
A.J. Pollock went 3 for 5 with an RBI and Yasmany Tomas had two hits and an RBI to help starting pitcher Taijuan Walker win his Diamondbacks debut despite allowing four runs and seven hits in six innings.
Walker (1-0) struck out seven before the Diamondbacks turned the game over to their bullpen. Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth for his first save with Arizona.
Giants starter Matt Moore (0-1), who shined in his last meaningful start before Wednesday — two-hit ball over eight innings in the NL Division Series against the Chicago Cubs — allowed three earned runs on eight hits in 5• innings.
Brewers 6, Rockies 1
MILWAUKEE — Eric Thames, Travis Shaw and Jonathan Villar each homered, Wily Peralta pitched five effective innings and Milwaukee beat Colorado.
Thames hit a 3-1 pitch 450 feet to deep center and Shaw teed off on a 1-0 pitch for a two-run homer job off Tyler Chatwood (0-1) in the fourth.
Peralta (1-0) allowed three hits over five innings.
Indians 9, Rangers 6
ARLINGTON, Texas — Francisco Lindor hit a go-ahead grand slam off closer Sam Dyson in the ninth inning and the defending AL champion Cleveland Indians completed a season-opening sweep with a victory over the Texas Rangers.
Lindor’s first career slam and second homer of the game came after he put the Rangers ahead in the fifth when the shortstop misjudged Joey Gallo’s speed, couldn’t beat the slugger to second base on an attempted two-out force play and allowed two runs to score on a throwing error.
Dyson (0-2) loaded the bases and walked in a run before Lindor’s homer down the right field line during a five-run Cleveland ninth. Dyson blew his first save after giving up three runs in a tie game in an 8-5 loss on opening day. He has allowed eight runs in one inning for the defending AL West champs.
The switch-hitting Lindor homered from both sides and had a career-high five RBIs.
Shawn Armstrong (1-0) struck out the only hitter he faced, Jonathan Lucroy, for his first major league win. Bryan Shaw pitched a perfect ninth for his first save.
Orioles 3, Blue Jays 1
BALTIMORE — Dylan Bundy struck out eight over seven impressive innings, and Baltimore used home runs by Adam Jones and Chris Davis to beat Toronto.
Making his 15th career start, Bundy (1-0) allowed one run and four hits. The 2011 first-round draft pick did not issue a walk and retired 14 of the last 15 batters he faced.
Brad Brach pitched the eighth and Zach Britton got three outs to earn his first save and seal the two-game sweep. After Toronto loaded the bases with one out in the ninth, Britton got former Oriole Steve Pearce to bounce into a 6-4-3 double play.
Jones hit a two-run drive in the third inning and Davis added a solo shot in the fourth. Both homers were off J.A. Happ, who went 20-4 last year — including 2-0 against the Orioles.
Happ (0-1) struck out nine in seven innings. The left-hander gave up five hits and walked none.
Astros 5, Mariners 3, 13 innings
HOUSTON — George Springer hit a three-run homer with two outs in the 13th inning to cap a five-RBI game, lifting Houston over Seattle.
Springer’s shot off Chase De Jong (0-1), who started the inning to make his major league debut, landed in the first row of the left field Crawford Boxes. Evan Gattis drew a one-out walk and advanced to second on Norichika Aoki’s single with two outs.
Houston reliever Jandel Gustave walked Mitch Haniger, Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz to load the bases to start the 13th. He was replaced by Brad Peacock (1-0), who walked Kyle Seager on five pitches to bring in the go-ahead run before getting the next three hitters.
The Astros improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2001, while dropping the Mariners to their first 0-3 start since 2011.
Angels 5, Athletics 0
OAKLAND, Calif. — Garrett Richards pitched beautifully while making his first appearance in 11 months after an elbow injury cut short his 2016 season but left abruptly in the fifth inning with biceps cramping before Los Angeles beat Oakland.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia and the training staff rushed to the mound after Richards threw a 94 mph called strike to Matt Joyce with two outs in the fifth.
Richards was removed from the game, one out shy of being eligible for the win, and slugger Albert Pujols put an arm around the pitcher in the dugout.
The team announced he came out for precautionary reasons.
Richards struck out four and walked one, allowing three hits in 4ª innings. JC Ramirez (1-0) worked 2ª innings for the victory.
Jharel Cotton (0-1) allowed five runs in 4• innings.
Twins 9, Royals 1
MINNEAPOLIS — Eduardo Escobar homered and drove in four runs and Miguel Sano added a bases-loaded triple to lead Minnesota over Kansas City.
Hector Santiago (1-0) gave up one run and four hits and struck out four in five innings for the Twins.
After starting last season 0-9 to set the stage for a miserable 103-loss season, the Twins are 2-0 for the first time since 2007.
Ian Kennedy (0-1) gave up three runs and three hits with five strikeouts and five walks in five innings for Kansas City.
Paulo Orlando drove in the lone run for the Royals, who walked nine Twins batters on the day.
Red Sox 3, Pirates 0, 12 innings
BOSTON — Sandy Leon hit a three-run homer in the 12th inning — his third hit of the game — and Chris Sale pitched seven dominant innings in his Boston debut.
Leon also doubled in the third inning but got thrown out at the plate after running through third base coach Brian Butterfield’s stop sign. It was scoreless into the bottom of the 12th, when Antonio Bastardo (0-1) walked Jackie Bradley Jr. and Pablo Sandoval with one out.
Leon followed with a drive over the Green Monster to end a cold night for the Red Sox, who also beat Pittsburgh in the season opener on Monday.
Joe Kelly (1-0), the sixth Red Sox pitcher, earned the victory with two innings of one-hit relief.