The New York Yankees began their chase for a 28th World Series title began with a win in the nation’s capital Thursday night.

In the first game of the 2020 MLB season, the Yankees defeated the reigning champions, the Washington Nationals, 4-1 in a game that was called due to rain after a thunderstorm moved into the D.C. area after five innings.

Giancarlo Stanton got the scoring started early with a towering 459-foot two-run home run in the top half of the first inning. He later drove in another run with a two-out single with the bases loaded in the fifth inning. Outflieder Aaron Judge also had an RBI double in the third inning.

New York's Gerrit Cole — who signed a nine-year contract worth $324 million with the team last offseason — earned his first win with his new team. Cole surrendered a solo home run to Adam Eaton in the first, but soon settled in. The team's new ace allowed only two more baserunners while striking out five Nationals. He pitched all five innings that were played.

The Yankees' DJ LeMahieu didn't play Thursday night, but he was on the active roster. He tested positive for the coronavirus before the start of camp as part of MLB’s intake testing. LeMahieu quarantined in Michigan before reporting to the Bronx.

In addition to the thunderstorm, another cloud hung over the game, Washington’s 21-year-old star outfielder Juan Soto missed the game after testing positive for coronavirus just hours before the first pitch. None of his teammates were ruled ineligable, and Yankees manager Aaron Boone said his team was comfortable playing. 

"I think we know what we signed up for,” Boone said. “We knew this was going to be a reality on given days. We’re doing, I feel like, a lot to be safe, and as safe as we possibly can. We also understand that there’s some risks that go with that.

The coronavirus prevented the 2020 season from beginning on March 26. Teams will play 60 regular-season games this season, instead of the standard 162.

New York and Washington were two of four teams to start their season Thursday. The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants also played their first game of the season at Dodger Stadium.

The Yankees will be back in action in Washington Saturday. The Mets — and the 25 other teams who did not play Thursday — start their season Friday.