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Mar 29, 2024 6:03 am

Tyler O’Neill, Red Sox look to build on opening win vs. M’s

Tyler O'Neill, Red Sox

Tyler O’Neill is unlikely to forget his debut in a Boston Red Sox uniform.

O’Neill broke a major league record by homering for a fifth consecutive Opening Day as the Red Sox defeated the host Seattle Mariners 6-4 on Thursday.

The teams will continue their four-game series on Friday.

“I don’t know, it’s just something about the routine on Opening Day,” O’Neill said on the NESN postgame show. “You just want to kick-start the season.”

The moment was made more special because O’Neill is a native of Burnaby, British Columbia, and he estimated about 20 family members and friends made the three-hour drive south across the Canadian border for the game.

“We’ve got a lot of tickets this week,” O’Neill told the Boston Globe before the game. “So, yeah, I’m going to say a lot of ‘hellos.’

“It’s a good enough effort for them to get down here and I appreciate all the support and stuff. Having all my family here and some buddies who are from back home is always good.”

In 2013, O’Neill was drafted in the third round by the Mariners but never reached the majors with them. He was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in July 2017 for left-hander Marco Gonzales.

He homered the previous four Opening Days for the Cardinals, matching the record set by Yogi Berra (1955-58) and equaled by Gary Carter (1977-80) and Todd Hundley (1994-97). O’Neill socked a solo shot for the Red Sox in the eighth inning on Thursday.

Boston’s Rafael Devers hit a two-run homer in the third to open the scoring.

“He was able to drive the ball to left-center, something that he wasn’t able to do last year,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Devers. “That homer was impressive.”

Right-hander Brayan Bello, signed to a six-year, $55 million extension in the offseason after just 1 1/2 years in the majors, pitched five solid innings for the win.

“They got some hits with two outs, RBI hits, and those are huge. They’re difference-makers,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “Not the way we wanted to start. We have a lot of games to go. We have a good team.”

Mitch Haniger and Dylan Moore hit two-run homers for the Mariners.

Haniger, a former All-Star who had career highs of 39 homers and 100 RBIs with the Mariners in 2021, returned to Seattle in an offseason trade with San Francisco after one injury-plagued season with the Giants.

“I’ve been doing a lot of work on mechanics this offseason,” Haniger said. “It’s good to be back in a Mariners uniform. Really glad they brought me back. It felt like home.”

Servais was impressed by Haniger’s opposite-field homer.

“I think just having him with our uniform on is going to springboard him,” Servais said. “I haven’t seen him hit one to right like that for a while. Normally he’s pull side.”

Friday’s game will feature a matchup of right-handers, Boston’s Nick Pivetta (10-9, 4.04 last year) and Seattle’s George Kirby (13-10, 3.35).

Pivetta is 1-1 with a 4.34 ERA in three career starts against the M’s. Kirby is 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA in four starts vs. Boston.

–Field Level Media

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