The Cincinnati Reds and Florida Marlins went into extra innings for the second straight night and the Reds won it again. The game went back and forth all night with the Reds scoring two in the top of the eighth and the Marlins countering with three in the bottom half to tie the score. The game went to the 11th where Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips hit back-to-back RBI singles with two outs. Francisco Cordero worked a perfect 11th to earn the save and win it for reliever Micah Owings who worked two scoreless innings. The Reds have won five of their last six and all five wins have come in their final at-bat. Jorge Cantu of the Marlins became the first player since 1921 to have a hit and RBI in his first 8 games.
Tampa Bay and Baltimore also went into extra innings. After the Rays were dominated for seven innings by rookie left-hander Brian Matusz, they finally got to him and the O’s bullpen in the eighth, scoring five runs. The resilient Orioles scored two runs in the bottom of the inning to tie the game up. It stayed tied until the tenth when Rays slugger Carlos Pena blasted a three-run homerun off of Matt Albers to take an 8-5 lead. The O’s did score a run off of Rays closer Rafael Soriano (a solo homerun by Ty Wiggington) but could do no more damage. The hopeful Orioles dropped to 1-7 on the season and attendance is dropping quickly (they had just a little over 13,000 for Tuesday night and just 9,000 on Monday).
Resilient is the best way to describe the 2010 Detroit Tigers (at least early on). On Sunday, ace Justin Verlander was battered by the Cleveland Indians, but the Tigers stormed back to win the game in their final at-bat. On Tuesday, it was more of the same but this time the KC Royals did the battering to Dontrelle Willis. The Royals held a 5-0 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh, but the Tigers scored six runs in the inning, finally chased starter Brian Bannister (who gave up just three singles through six innings), and again ripped the Royals bullpen (just as they did during the first series of the season as it took three relievers to get out of the inning). It was the Tigers fifth comeback of the season.
Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox had the best defensive play on Opening Day (most likely one of the best of the season). On Tuesday night in San Francisco, Pittsburgh Pirates starter Paul Maholm made a play to rival Buehrle’s. On a ball hit by the Giants’ Aubrey Huff, Maholm dove to stop the ball as it was rolling by him, rolled over, and flipped the ball over his head (from inside his glove) to first base for the out. Check out this site to see the play in real time (http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=7432519). The Pirates also held on in a nail-biter, 6-5.
In Toronto, the Blue Jays had another no-hitter watch, this time from second year left-hander Ricky Romero (they also had one from Double-A New Hampshire prospect Luis Perez at the same time and last week Shaun Marcum had one). Romero went into the 8th inning while no-hitting the White Sox, but he hit AJ Pierzynski and former Blue Jay Alex Rios sent a 2-1 changeup into the left field seats for a two-run homerun. Romero finished the inning with three straight ground outs and he struck out 12 on the night as the Blue Jays won 4-2. “We were just in awe,” Blue Jays center fielder Vernon Wells told reporters after the game. “It was one of the most dominant performances I’ve seen as a Blue Jay. It was fun to be a part of.”
The NY Yankees began the second season at new Yankee Stadium with the ultimate pre-game festivities: the unveiling of the World Series champion’s banner and the ring ceremony. Yankee greats Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford were on hand to present the Yankees with their World Series champion rings. Former Yankee Bernie Williams threw out the first pitch. The Yankees received stellar starting pitching from veteran Andy Pettitte (6 innings of shutout baseball), though the LA Angels came back against reliever Dave Robertson to make the game close (the Yankees won 7-5).