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Baseball Season Opens as Cubs Beat Mets before 55,000 in Tokyo

29 March 2000

The Chicago Cubs opened the 2000 Major League Baseball season with a 5-3 win over the New York Mets at the Tokyo Dome on Wednesday. This was the first time a Major League Baseball game was held outside of North America.

Pitcher Mike Hampton, making his Mets debut, was less than effective, walking a career-high 9 Cubs batters. The Mets big off-season free agent signing, who went 22-4 for the Houston Astros last year, also hit a batter and was responsible for a wild pitch.

The first pitch of the season, of the century in fact, was a strike by Hampton. However the batter, former Dodger second baseman Eric Young, who was making his Cubs debut, walked, stole second base, and later scored on Damon Buford's single.

In what is now the earliest opening day ever, Mark Grace and Shane Andrews smacked home runs for the Cubs, while all-star catcher Mike Piazza smashed a two-run shot for the Mets.

After going 0-15 in previous exhibition games played in Tokyo earlier in the week, Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa singled, doubled and walked twice.

Cubs pitcher Jon Lieber was the winner, throwing seven strong innings, allowing one run on five hits. Reliever Rick Aguilera picked up the save.

The teams wrap up the first international opener on Thursday night before heading back to North America to begin the long trek that is the major league baseball season.

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