Friday was a big day for home openers. It started in Detroit as the Cleveland Indians traveled to a packed Comerica Park. The game was all about pitching early on between the Indians David Huff and the Tigers Rick Porcello. With the bases loaded of Tigers in the fifth, Magglio Ordonez hit a sharp grounder to third base that Jhonny Peralta threw away and three unearned runs scored to give the Tigers a 4-2 lead. The Tigers held on to win the game 5-2 before the second largest crowd in Comerica Park history. Rookie second baseman Scott Sizemore of the Tigers collected his first Major League hit and Tigers rookie centerfielder Austin Jackson swiped his first base.
The SF Giants opened up AT&T Park against the Atlanta Braves in a game that was dominated by the Braves Tim Hudson. Hudson went seven innings while allowing two runs on just three hits. However in the bottom of the ninth against Braves closer Billy Wagner, Giants shortstop Edgar Renteria continued his hot-hitting by blasting a two-run homerun to tie the game at 4-4. In the 13th inning, Braves manager Bobby Cox was ejected for the 154th time for arguing a checked swing called third strike from the dugout. Juan Uribe stole second base and Braves catcher Brian McCann’s throw sailed into centerfield (with Uribe moving up to third base). The umpires could have called interference on the batter as Aaron Rowand’s back swing caught McCann as he was throwing the ball. With two outs, Rowand hit a ball into the hole at shortstop but Yunel Escobar could not throw him out, thus driving in the game-winning run from third base. The Giants won the game 5-4 in 13 innings to improve to 4-0.
The Orioles opened up Camden Yards against the Toronto Blue Jays with second year pitcher Brad Bergesen making the start. However both he and Blue Jays starter Brandon Morrow struggled. Miguel Tejada returned to Baltimore to blast a two-run homerun in the fifth inning to tie the game at 5-5 (Tejada had three hits and four RBIs). After the Orioles took the lead in the bottom of the eighth, manager Dave Trembley went to new closer Mike Gonzalez to earn the save. Unfortunately the record breaking home opening crowd of O’s fans did not like what they saw out of Gonzalez. His struggles continue this season as he went just 2/3 of an inning while allowing two runs. He left to a loud array of boos from the fans that had high hopes for the 2010 team. The O’s lost yet another game by one run and another blown lead to drop to 1-3 (they lost the game 7-6).
The Colorado Rockies opened Coors Field against the San Diego Padres, who continued their poor-hitting (which is worst in the Majors). Jorge De La Rosa of the Rockies gave up just one hit in seven innings while striking out nine. The Rockies won 7-0 with everyone other than De La Rosa in the lineup collecting a hit (with the 4-6 hitters combining to go 6-for-11).
Then there were the late inning heroics. In Chicago, Minnesota’s JJ Hardy grounded a ball past the diving Alexei Ramirez at shortstop for an RBI single in the top of the eleventh to give the Twins a 4-3 lead. Closer Jon Rauch came on in the bottom of the inning and retired the White Sox, despite giving up two singles, to record his third save. The White Sox lost their second straight 11 inning game.
In Milwaukee, St. Louis Cardinals pinch-hitter Nick Stavinoha hit a two out 1-2 changeup from All-Time saves leader Trevor Hoffman into the left field bleachers to give the Cardinals a 5-4 win. It was Stavinoha’s first at-bat of the season. It was a tough loss for the Brewers, who kept the Cardinals in check with starter Dave Bush who gave up just four hits in 5.2 innings while striking out six (though he gave up three runs).
The Cincinnati Reds won in dramatic fashion for the second straight day. This time the hero was Drew Stubbs and the victim was the Chicago Cubs. Stubbs hit a grand slam in the bottom of the eighth off of Cubs reliever Esmailin Caridad to give the Reds a 5-4 win. The centerfielder hit his first Major League grand slam 421 feet into the Reds’ bullpen in centerfield.
The Kansas City Royals came back to defeat the Boston Red Sox once knuckleballer Tim Wakefield left the game after seven innings. Against reliever Daniel Bard with two men on base, centerfielder Rick Ankiel deposited a broken bat double into left field to drive in the two runners. Ankiel collected a career high four hits in the Royals 4-3 win.