Tampa Bay Rays 7, New York Yankees 6
The game of the day involved two AL East powerhouses, who squared off in a fateful game to end the 2011 season the last time these two teams faced eachother. The Rays won by a run, with the newly acquired Carlos Pena making good on his first game in his reunion with the Rays. He started the scoring in the first by smashing a grand slam off of C.C. Sabathia (8 hits, 5 runs in 6 innings) and then hitting the game-winning single to score Ben Zobrist, who hit a triple earlier to tie the game at 6 in the bottom of the ninth.
In fact, Pena had a WPA of .585 for the game with Zobrist adding a .494 WPA; that’s the way to start things off when you’re back on your old team. James Shields allowed six runs and nine hits in five innings of work, but the bullpen did not allow a single hit for the final four innings.
For the Yankees, Raul Ibanez had four RBIs with an Early Wynn special in the third to score Nick Swisher and Alex Rodriguez, with A-Rod contributing a 2-3 game with two runs and two walks. Mariano Rivera was charged with the loss, after he blew the game bu allowing the two runs in the ninth; his only out recorded was a strikeout of Sean Rodriguez (1-2, R, 2 BB).
Rangers 3, White Sox 2
The White Sox missed some opportunities in this game by going 0-7 with runners in scoring position, and those missed chances led to them falling just short against the Texas Rangers in a 3-2 game. John Danks pitched six quality innings and struck out six while allowing six hits and three runs, and opposing starter Colby Lewis struck out seven in six innings with seven hits and two runs allowed. Danks, however, ended up with a negative WPA for the game. Lewis ended with a Game Score of 58, with Danks receiving a score of 54.
Adam Dunn had a monster of a home run in the 6th inning; the inning that yielded the only two runs of the game for the White Sox. After tying it 2-2 at that point thanks to a single from Alexei Ramirez, Michael Young knocked in Josh Hamilton in the bottom of the sixth to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead that would not change. Joe Nathan blanketed the White Sox in the ninth, and Ian Kinsler led the way with two early extra base hits (double and a home run) to lead the way for Texas.
Angels 5, Royals 0
Even though it was Albert Pujols‘s debut with his new club, this was anything but The Machine’s game. He went 0-3 with an intentional walk, was mowed down by Aaron Crow, hit a popout to third, and was bounced out on a double play in the game. Crow ended up being charged with the loss after allowing three runs in 1.1 innings and helping the Angels to a five run outburst in the bottom of the eighth to seal the home opener.
Bruce Chen tossed six scoreless frames while allowing just three hits, but ace Jered Weaver was even better in his eight innings. Weaver allowed just four hits and struck out ten batters to help shut down the Royals.
Erick Aybar finished with three steaks, and Peter Bourjos went 2-3 to help lead the Halos. His RBI hit in the eighth was off of an infield single, and Aybar tripled in three- including Bourjos- then later scored on a single from Torii Hunter (1-4, 1 RBI).
Orioles 4, Twins 2
Jake Arrieta allowed just two hits and two walks in seven scoreless frames for a 75 GSC, while Carl Pavano was exactly average in a 4-2 victory for the Baltimore Orioles. Josh Willingham hit a two-run home run off of Troy Patton in his Twins debut, while Nick Markakis led the way for the O’s in a fantastic game by hitting a round-tripper in the first with a triple, walk, two runs, and three steaks overall.
Mariners 7, Athletics 3
Leadoff hitter Chone Figgins was actually relevant in this 7-3 victory, as he went 3-4 with two ribbies and helped Brendan Ryan score in the opening frame on some terrible defense by the A’s. Brandon McCarthy received no help, as he allowed just two earned runs out of the five that were scored in the five innings that he was in the game for.
Yoenis Cespedes hit a two-run dinger in his MLB debut, after the A’s took a risk by signing the talented Cuban outfielder. Fellow young star Jesus Montero went 1-4 with a sacrifice fly to score Figgins in his debut with the M’s.
Rockies 5, Astros 3
Jeremy Guthrie and Wandy Rodriguez were about even in their performances, as Wandy allowed no earned runs with three runs being earned in the loss. In his Colorado debut, Guthrie allowed just four hits in seven innings and gave up three earned runs in total. The always solid Rafael Betancourt is the new closer in Colorado, and he is already making his extension look good by notching the save.
Michael Cuddyer and Ramon Hernandez are two new Rockies who both went 2-4, while Carlos Lee‘s 2-4, HR, 2 RBI stat line was the best offensive performance for the ‘Stros. RF Brian Bogusevic and Troy Tulowitzki also homered.
5 Diamondbacks, 4 Giants
A tough game was fought between the two best teams in the NL West, with the D’Backs emerging victorious in off-games for starters Tim Lincecum and Ian Kennedy. Ryan Roberts hit a clutch two-RBI double in the sixth for the Snakes, and Chris Young and Paul Goldschmidt also homered for ‘Zona. Pablo Sandoval went 2-5 with an RBI for the Giants, with the newly acquired Melky Cabrera having a nice 2-5, 2 run, 2 RBI game in right. Both Sandoval and Cabrera hit doubles, with Melky showing why the Jonathan Sanchez trade with the Royals was beneficial.
Cardinals 11, Brewers 5
The NL Central heavyweights fought it out, with the Cardinals exercising their offensive muscle and showing why they can win big even without Albert Pujols on their team. Yovani Gallardo was shellacked in 3.2 innings of six-run ball, and he surrendered four homers to Yadier Molina, Carlos Beltran, World Series hero and hot hitter David Freese, and star Matt Holliday. Freese and Beltran had field days against the Brewers, and this game was definitely one Cards fans will be proud of.
Dodgers 6, Padres 0
The Dodgers shut down the (sarcasm alert) vaunted Padres offense, as the Padres were only able to get three hits off of Chad Billingsley in 8.1 innings of excellence. The strikeout artists punched out 11 stymied Padres, with Chase Headley getting mowed down three times. The newly extended Cory Luebke did not fair out as well, as he gave up five earned runs and nine hits in 4.2 innings, despite notching six strikeouts.
Newly acquired pitchers Micah Owings and Andrew Cashner (from the Anthony Rizzo trade with the Cubs) combined for 4.1 innings of one-hit, two-walk, three-strikeout baseball (Owings pitched 3.1 of those innings and allowed the lone hit).
Mark Ellis was a guy I tabbed as an underrated signing, and the new Dodgers second baseman is the only veteran signing that will pay dividends (something I said a month ago). He went 2-5 with two runs and a double, but this was Andre Ethier’s game. The star right fielder went 2-4 with four RBIs including a double and a triple (both off of Luebke). Superstar Matt Kemp is also starting the season on the right footing for the Dodgers, and he went 2-4 with two runs and an RBI.
Follow Joe Soriano on Twitter here.
Topics: AL East, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, C.C. Sabathia, Carlos Pena, Early Wynn, Evan Longoria, James Shields, Mariano Rivera, MLB Game Recaps, New York Yankees, Nick Swisher, Raul Ibanez, Sean Rodriguez, Tampa Bay Rays