MIAMI (Ticker) -- In their first game with the
Hee Seop Choi
made fans smile before
made them sweat.
Choi hit a two-run homer and drove in three runs and Benitez earned the save despite a shaky ninth inning as the Marlins opened defense of their World Series title with a 4-3 victory over the
Acquired in an offseason trade with the
, Choi became the 12th player to homer in his first at-bat as a Marlin when he connected off former Marlin
in the second inning.
"We won today and it was nice to be a part of it," said Choi, a native of South Korea. "I felt comfortable out there. It was a good start for me here."
The last player to accomplish the feat before Choi was
against Tampa Bay on June 20. Cabrera started an eighth-inning rally on Tuesday when he singled and later came home on Choi's grounder to second against
(0-1) that made it 3-2.
"We hope this game will be springboard for him," Marlins manager Jack Mckeon said. "That's the way he played all spring. We have tremendous faith in him."
drove in the second run of the inning with a single and it proved to be a pivotal one for Benitez, whose erratic performance landed him on three different teams last season.
Benitez allowed a two-out homer to
and a double to
hit a foul pop fly to first baseman Choi to end the game.
"I'm not worried a bit about my performance," said Benitez. "I kept battling and was able to get the last out."
(1-0) worked out of a jam in the eighth for the win, getting
to ground out with the bases loaded.
allowed an RBI single to Cabrera earlier in the inning.
The blown save by Fox spoiled an outstanding performance by Florida starter
, who allowed one run and four hits in seven innings while striking out nine.
The game marked the first time that two World Series Most Valuable Players opposed each other on Opening Day. Beckett was the MVP of last season's World Series triumph over the
New York Yankees
while Hernandez took the honors for the Marlins' win over Cleveland in 1997.
"You don't see that too many times," said Hernandez, who allowed two runs and five hits in six innings.
Vidro drove in the first Montreal run with a double in the sixth.
"We battled to the end," Vidro said. "That's what this team is all about."
The game attracted 55,315 fans to Pro Player Stadium, the largest regular-season crowd in franchise history.