ST. LOUIS — Shin-Soo Choo is way off the hook.
The new Cincinnati center fielder made amends for two botched fly balls, drawing a leadoff walk in a nine-run ninth inning and later delivering a three-run double as the Reds spoiled the St. Louis Cardinals’ home opener with a 13-4 victory on Monday.
“I almost died and my teammates gave me another life,” Choo said. “I really appreciate my teammates, coming over to me and saying everybody makes mistakes.
“I missed two fly balls and in my mind I had to do something to help the team.”
Mitchell Boggs (0-1), the stand-in closer for St. Louis, yielded six runs while getting only one out. Only a few thousand fans remained of the largest regular-season crowd of 47,375 for the bottom of the ninth in 8-year-old Busch Stadium history.
A day earlier, the Cardinals scored nine runs in the fourth inning against Giants ace Matt Cain.
“I think this is the worst outing of my career,” said Boggs, who has one save in two chances along with a bloated 14.54 ERA. “I guess without saying there’s a lot of season left and I expect to be a player with a lot of good ones.”
The defending NL Central champions Cardinals held a tribute for Stan Musial before the game. They’ve lost three straight home openers and six of the last seven.
Brandon Phillips blooped a go-ahead double in the ninth. He earlier hit his 150th career homer for the Reds, who have won six of seven since losing in extra innings to the Angels on opening day and totaled 11 or more hits the last four games.
Jay Bruce had four hits and Chris Heisey doubled twice with an RBI.
Sam LeCure (1-0) pitched an inning for the win.
Cardinals lefty Jaime Garcia matched his career best with 10 strikeouts in 6 2-3 innings and left with a 4-3 lead. Yadier Molina hit both of the fly balls dropped by Choo in the first and sixth, and added an RBI single.
Pinch-hitter Xavier Paul tied it in the Reds’ eighth with an RBI single off Trevor Rosenthal before the Reds took off in the ninth with six hits, five walks and an error. The Cardinals last surrendered nine runs in the ninth in a 12-9 loss at Colorado on July 6, 2010.
Prior to the game, Musial’s four children unveiled an oversized red No. 6, the Hall of Famer’s retired jersey number, on the wall in left-center. The decal matches memorial patches worn on the team’s uniform sleeves.
Reds players stood on the top dugout steps as the Cardinals paraded around the warning track in flat-bed trucks, and Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker hugged Cardinals Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith.
Rangers 5, Rays 4: ARLINGTON, Texas — A.J. Pierzynski and Mitch Moreland hit consecutive home runs off birthday boy Jeremy Hellickson and the Texas Rangers held on for a 5-4 victory over Tampa Bay in their series opener Monday night.
After Pierzynski’s first homer for Texas, a two-out solo shot in the fourth that made it 2-1, Moreland pulled a 428-foot shot deep into the Texas bullpen in right-center field.
Alexi Ogando (2-0) allowed only one run on three hits but needed 89 pitches to get through 5 1-3 innings. The right-hander walked three and struck out two five days after getting a career-high 10 strikeouts in 6 1-3 innings at Houston.
Joe Nathan, Texas’ fifth pitcher, gave up a run in the ninth, but still got his second save this season and 300th of his career.
Hellickson (0-1), who turned 26, gave up three runs and five hits over five innings. He needed 30 pitches to get out of the first, including a nine-pitch leadoff walk by Ian Kinsler, and threw 98 pitches overall.
Elvis Andrus, in a 2-for-18 slide before singling in the fifth, added a two-run single in the Rangers seventh for a 5-1 lead.
Pierzynski became the seventh different player to homer for the Rangers in their seven games. Moreland then hit his second homer of the season, part of his three hits against the Rays after going 2 for 21 the first six games.
Even though Kinsler got caught stealing in the first, Texas went up 1-0 when Lance Berkman scored from first base on Adrian Beltre’s two-out bloop double. Left fielder Sam Fuld made a diving attempt to catch the ball, which instead went under his glove and rolled behind him.
Tampa Bay got even in the second. Evan Longoria drew a leadoff walk in the second, and scored when second baseman Kinsler made a throwing error when trying to complete a double play.
Royals 3, Twins 1: KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Ervin Santana pitched eight strong innings, Alcides Escobar doubled home the go-ahead run and the Royals rallied to beat Minnesota in their home opener.
Santana (1-1), acquired from the Los Angeles Angels on Oct. 31 for minor league left-hander Brandon Sisk, gave up a run and eight singles. He struck out seven, walked one and hit a batter. Santana allowed only four hits after the first inning, when the Twins scored their lone run.
Twins right-hander Kevin Correia (0-1) limited the Royals to five singles and no runs the first seven innings before Lorenzo Cain doubled to right-center to lead off the three-run eighth. After Chris Getz’s sacrifice bunt moved Cain to third, Alex Gordon singled him home to tie the score.
Escobar’s double scored Gordon and knocked Correia out of the game.threw first pitches to injured closer Jason Motte and Adam Wainwright. ... Bruce has four consecutive multiple-hit games.
Yankees 11, Indians 6: CLEVELAND — Travis Hafner drove in four runs in his return to Cleveland and Robinson Cano homered twice as the injury-riddled New York Yankees wrecked the Indians’ opener — and manager Terry Francona’s first home game — with an 11-6 win Monday.
Hafner hit a three-run homer in the first inning off Ubaldo Jimenez (0-1) and added an RBI single in the third. Cano connected in the fifth and sixth for the Yankees, who are trying to hold on until All-Stars Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira get healthy and come off the disabled list.
Hiroki Kuroda (1-1) shook off a shaky, 34-pitch first and showed no signs of being bothered by a bruised right middle finger as the Yankees finally won a home opener after losing their own and Detroit’s last week.
Mets 7, Phillies 2: PHILADELPHIA — Matt Harvey threw seven impressive innings, John Buck hit a three-run homer and the Mets roughed up Roy Halladay in a victory over the Phillies.
Harvey (2-0) followed up a dominant first start with another sharp outing. He gave up one run, three hits and struck out nine. The 24-year-old righty allowed one hit and fanned 10 in seven scoreless innings against San Diego last Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Halladay (0-2) allowed seven runs and six hits in four-plus innings. He’s given up 12 runs in 7 1-3 innings in two starts after a tough spring.