ESPN's opening night broadcast of Yankees vs. Nats draws record 4 million viewers

A record number of people tuned in to watch the New York Yankees defeat the Washington Nationals on opening night. The game was viewed by an average audience of 4 million people, ESPN announced Friday.

That was a record for the most viewers during an opening night telecast on the network. It was also the most-watched regular season MLB game on any network since 2011.

The Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals set the previous opening night record at ESPN. Their matchup in 2017 drew 3.7 million viewers. The Yankees-Nationals game beat that by 8 percent. The contest reached a peak rating of 4.48 million viewers at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Nationals vs. Yankees cut short by rain

Fans who contributed to that record figure saw one of the best pitching matchups the game could offer. Gerrit Cole and Max Scherzer took the mound looking to lead their teams to victory. While Scherzer gave up four runs, he struck out 11 hitters. The Nationals couldn’t climb out of that hole, as the game ended after five innings due to rain. The reigning champion Nationals lost the opening night contest 4-1. Scherzer took the loss, and Cole came away with a win in his Yankees debut.

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