There were just six games on the schedule on Monday. The day started in Milwaukee for the Brewers homer opener. Atlanta Braves starter Brandon Beachy struggled at the start, but the Brewers could not capitalize. Rickie Weeks did hit a solo homerun in the third inning to give the Brewers a 1-0 lead. It was Weeks’ third homerun of the season. Brewers starter Chris Narveson was great, as he pitched six shutout innings and allowed jus three hits. Beachy allowed just that one run over six innings while striking out seven. However the Braves bats awoke in the eighth inning against Brewers reliever Takashi Saito. Martin Prado led off the inning with a solo homerun to tie the game at 1-1. With two outs, Dan Uggla hit a solo homerun to give the Braves a 2-1 lead. That was enough for rookie closer Craig Kimbrel, as he quickly dispatched the Brewers lineup in the bottom of the ninth. He struck out the side on 15 pitches to send the Brewers to 0-4 to start the season. The Braves are now 3-1 as Kimbrel picked up his second save.
The birds were circling in the Wrigley Field outfield in the top of the ninth inning. Closer Carlos Marmol was in the game for the Chicago Cubs with a 4-1 lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Marmol has struggled so far this season, but had his slider working on Monday. To make the final out, Cubs centerfielder Marlon Byrd had to catch a fly ball off the bat of Justin Upton through the sea gulls. It was a bit of an adventure, but he caught the ball to end the game. Alfonso Soriano homered for the Cubs and had two RBIs.
With the game tied at 1-1 in the fifth inning, Baltimore Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts hit a wind-blown three-run homerun off Detroit Tigers starter Rick Porcello to give the sold-out Orioles crowd at Camden Yards something to cheer about. The Orioles received their fourth straight quality start from their young starters as Jake Arrieta pitched six innings and allowed just that one run in their home opener. The Orioles have started the season 4-0.
Ivan Nova of the NY Yankees was on a roll Monday night until the second time through the Minnesota Twins order (which was something that hounded him last season). He had a no-hitter into the fourth inning when he got in trouble. After five innings, the Yankees held a 4-3 lead. All of the Yankees runs came courtesy of the long ball, as Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada each hit two-run homeruns. The bullpen for the Yankees (Joba Chamberlain, Rafael Soriano, and Mariano Rivera) pitched three shutout innings to help Nova earn the victory. The Yankees are now 3-1 while the Twins fell to 1-3.
Erik Bedard of the Seattle Mariners made his first start since 2009 (due to shoulder surgery) on Monday night in Arlington. Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus quickly welcomed him back by hitting a homerun in the first inning. Andrus went 705 at-bats between homeruns. When he returned to the dugout to celebrate, all that was there to greet him was manager Ron Washington. Andrus got the silent treatment for a minute as he high-fived the air before his teammates joined in the celebration. After the Mariners scored two runs in the top of the fourth inning to get within 3-2, Nelson Cruz hit a solo homerun in the bottom of the inning to increase the Rangers lead to 4-2. Cruz became just the third player in Major League history to homer in the first four games of the season. He joins Willie Mays and Mark McGwire. The Rangers improved to 4-0 to start the season.
Charlie Morton of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Kyle Lohse of the St. Louis Cardinals were locked in a pitcher’s duel. Morton had allowed a run in the second inning, but looked strong. Lohse was pitching a shutout until the sixth inning. Neil Walker drove in two with a double and Andrew McCutchen followed him in the order with a two-run homerun to give the visiting Pirates a 4-1 lead. The Cardinals would come back with two runs in the eighth inning, but could do nothing against Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan. He threw just 16 pitches in 1.1 innings without allowing a hit to earn the save. Morton picked up his first road victory since 2009 as the Pirates improved to 3-1.