Jason Heyward of the Atlanta Braves hit a homerun in his first at-bat on Opening Day for the second straight season. The Braves-Washington Nationals game was a quick pitcher’s duel between Derek Lowe and Livan Hernandez. In the 2-0 Braves victory, the Braves showed off their young closing duo of Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel.
In a rainy New York City, CC Sabathia of the Yankees and Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers matched up, but the game was decided by the bullpens. Curtis Granderson of the Yankees homered off Phil Coke to lead off the 7th inning to give the Yankees a 4-3 lead (G randerson was questionable for the game due to a right oblique strain). Mariano Rivera closed out the 6-3 Yankees win.
Balls were flying out of Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati from the very first hitter. Rickie Weeks and Carlos Gomez of the Milwaukee Brewers hit back-to-back homeruns to lead off the game against Reds starter Edinson Volquez. Weeks became the first Brewer ever to lead off the season with a homer. The Brewers held a 6-3 lead in the bottom of the 9th inning with closer John Axford on the mound. However with two outs, Reds catcher Ramon Hernandez hit a three-run walk-off homerun. The Reds continued their late game heroics that they were famous for in 2010. There were six homeruns total hit in the game.
It took the San Diego Padres eleven innings to defeat the host St. Louis Cardinals. Cameron Maybin of the Padres hit a solo homerun on the first pitch he saw with two outs in the top of the 9th inning off Cardinals closer Ryan Franklin to tie the game at 3-3. In the 11th inning, Chase Headley scored all the way from first base when the Cardinals Ryan Theriot botched a relay throw. The Padres held on for the 5-3 victory as closer Heath Bell dispatched the Cardinals on just ten pitches. Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols went 0-for-5 and grounded into three double-plays (the most in his career for a single game).
Jered Weaver of the LA Angels stymied the KC Royals offense for 6.1 innings, as he allowed just two hits (both to Melky Cabrera) while striking out six. His bullpen escaped trouble following his exit, as they held on for a 4-2 victory. Torii Hunter and Jeff Mathis homered for the Angels, while solo homeruns from Jeff Francoeur and Mike Aviles accounted for the Royals runs. The Angels have won 27 of 34 games at Kauffman Stadium.
The final game of Opening Day was the World Series Champion SF Giants visiting their National League West rival LA Dodgers. Tim Lincecum of the Giants matched up against Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers. It was a pitcher’s duel as expected. The Dodgers cashed in on two throwing errors by the Giants in the sixth inning to take a 1-0 lead. The Dodgers would add another run off Giants reliever Santiago Casilla in the 8th inning. Pat Burrell would hit a solo homerun in the ninth inning off Dodgers closer Jonathon Broxton, but Broxton came back to record the save as the Dodgers won 2-1.