Eric Davis and Dave Parker homered off Steve Carlton to lead the Reds to a 7-4 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League's traditional season opener yesterday in Cincinnati.
Davis' three-run homer in the second inning helped Mario Soto survive an erratic 5 2/3 innings and earn his fourth consecutive opening-day victory. Ron Robinson pitched the final 3 1/3 innings for the save.
Carlton, a 41-year-old left-hander with 314 career wins, tied Tom Seaver's NL record with his 14th opening-day assignment. But he allowed nine hits and seven runs in four innings. The loss dropped Carlton's opening-day record to 3-9.
A crowd of 54,960 -- Riverfront Stadium's largest regular-season crowd since the ballpark opened in 1970 -- watched as the ceremonial first pitch was thrown out by Chub Feeney, retiring this season after 17 years as NL president.
Soto got in trouble early. Gary Redus doubled to open the game and took third when Soto fumbled Milt Thompson's bunt. Thompson stole second and Mike Schmidt was intentionally walked to load the bases. Glenn Wilson's sacrifice fly brought in the game's first run, and Von Hayes doubled for two more runs.
But the Reds took a 4-3 lead in the second inning. Singles by Dave Concepcion, Bo Diaz and Ron Oester produced one run and Davis homered to right field to put Cincinnati ahead.
Soto, who allowed a league-high 30 homers last year, served up a game-tying blast to Schmidt in the third, then Cincinnati took the lead for good in the bottom of the inning when rookie Tracy Jones walked, stole second and scored on Diaz's single.
The Reds knocked Carlton out in the fifth. Parker homered, Nick Esasky walked and Jones singled. Larry Anderson replaced Carlton and gave up Concepcion's RBI single.
*Dodgers 2, Padres 1: Fernando Valenzuela pitched a 10-hitter -- all singles -- and Mike Marshall homered as Los Angeles won before a sellout crowd of 49,444 at Dodger Stadium, ruining Steve Boros' first game as San Diego manager.
Valenzuela, making his fourth straight opening-day start and fifth in six years, walked one and struck out nine. He lost his shutout in the ninth inning on singles by Kevin McReynolds, Steve Garvey and Garry Templeton. Bruce Bochy grounded out to end the game.
Los Angeles Manager Tom Lasorda said he didn't consider lifting Valenzuela. "You hold a club like that at bay for nine innings, you've pitched some game," Lasorda said. "Fernando's some kind of competitor. A lot of guys in the eighth or ninth innings start looking at the bullpen. He doesn't even know there's a bullpen. He's some kind of closer."
The Dodgers scored in the second off Eric Show on a leadoff walk to Marshall and singles by Franklin Stubbs and Steve Sax. Marshall, who hit 28 home runs last year, hit his first of the season to left-center on Show's first pitch of the seventh inning. Show allowed only five hits and two walks in seven innings.
The Padres threatened to tie it in the fifth after singles by Carmelo Martinez and Templeton. One out later, Jerry Royster singled but Stubbs -- replacing the injured Pedro Guerrero in left field -- threw out Martinez at the plate.