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POSTED April 9, 2012 10:57 p.m.

CINCINNATI (AP) — Matt Holliday, David Freese and Yadier Molina homered during the St. Louis Cardinals' big first inning, and Jake Westbrook found his control after a rough start, beating the Cincinnati Reds 7-1 on Monday night.

The defending World Series champions improved to 4-1 with an offense that hasn't missed Albert Pujols so far.

Only 20 pitches into the game, Reds starter Homer Bailey (0-1) trailed 4-0. It was the second time this season that St. Louis hit three homers in an inning. Molina also doubled home a pair of runs in the eighth.

Westbrook (1-0) overcame an early bout of wildness, allowing only three hits and one unearned run in seven innings. The right-hander slimmed down in the offseason and had an impressive spring training, getting the sink back on his fastball.

Bailey retired the first two Cardinals then came apart. Holliday homered, Lance Berkman walked and Freese homered. Molina also homered on the next pitch.

After the bad opening inning, Bailey settled in and allowed only two more hits while pitching into the sixth inning.

MARLINS 6, PHILLIES 2

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Anibal Sanchez took a three-hitter into the seventh, Omar Infante hit a pair of solo homers and Miami spoiled Philadelphia's home opener.

Sanchez (1-0) allowed two runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings, outpitching two-time All-Star Cole Hamels (0-1).

Gaby Sanchez had two hits and two RBIs, Emilio Bonifacio had three hits and Austin Kearns hit a solo shot off Jonathan Papelbon.

Hamels allowed four runs — three earned — and eight hits, striking out nine in 5 1-3 innings for the Phillies, who are missing Chase Utley and Ryan Howard from the middle of the lineup.

METS 4, NATIONALS 3

NEW YORK (AP) — Daniel Murphy singled home the winning run in the ninth and New York took advantage of a throwing error by reliever Henry Rodriguez to beat Washington.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit his first major league homer for the Mets, who are 4-0 for the first time since 2007. Jon Rauch (1-0) worked two hitless innings for his first win with New York.

Pinch-hitter Mike Baxter drew a leadoff walk from Rodriguez (0-1) in the ninth. Ruben Tejada put down a sacrifice bunt and Baxter advanced to third on a wild throw to first.

Baxter was initially waved home, but a late stop sign caused him to slip and scramble back to third. Murphy followed with his winning single.

ASTROS 8, BRAVES 3

HOUSTON (AP) — Travis Buck drove in two runs, Justin Maxwell homered in his Houston debut and the Astros rebounded from an early deficit thanks to sloppy defensive play by Atlanta.

Houston trailed 3-0 in the third before a trio of errors by the Braves, with two from third baseman Juan Francisco, led to three unearned runs and tied the game.

Astros starter J.A. Happ drove in the go-ahead run with an RBI single in the fourth that made it 4-3. Pinch-hitter J.D. Martinez and Jose Altuve drove in a run each in the sixth.

Happ (1-0) allowed six hits and three runs with five strikeouts in six innings for the win.

Brandon Beachy (0-1) allowed four hits and four runs — one earned — in five innings.

BREWERS 7, CUBS 5

CHICAGO (AP) — Aramis Ramirez drove in two runs in his return to Wrigley Field, Ryan Braun got booed relentlessly and Milwaukee hung on to beat Chicago.

The Brewers held a four-run lead going into the ninth before the Cubs scored two runs and had the bases loaded when John Axford struck out Starlin Castro on three pitches to end it.

Shawn Marcum (1-0) settled down after a shaky start and gave up three runs in six solid innings. Rickie Weeks homered, while Braun had two hits and scored a run.

Matt Gamel added a run-scoring triple off Shawn Camp (0-1) and scored in the sixth, breaking a 3-3 tie. Camp gave up three runs on five hits in two inning of work.

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