Baseball is back, and FOXSports.com has Opening Weekend covered. Keep it right here all weekend long as we take you inside the sights and sounds of MLB’s return with our live blog from every series and join the conversation below. And check out the scoreboard to see how your team is doing. All times Eastern.
For the first time in nearly a decade, the Dodgers won three of four games in a series against San Francisco by beating the Giants 7-5 on Sunday night. Los Angeles jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first on a Jamey Carroll RBI triple and a two-run homer by Matt Kemp. But Giants starter Barry Zito took command after the HR, retiring the next 15 in a row before walking Carroll in the sixth. He left the game tied, allowing 3 earned runs and two walks to go with five K’s. But his replacement, Dan Runzler was the goat, pitching 1/3 of an inning, allowing 4 hits and 4 earned runs. He takes the loss (0-1).
Hiroki Kuroda went seven innings in his first start of 2011, giving up three runs, including solo homers to Pablo Sandoval (1) and Pat Burrell (2). Kuroda is now 1-0. Jonathan Broxton picked up his third save, but also gave up his second homer, an pinch-hit job by Aaron Roward in the ninth. It was the third career pinch homer for Rowand. The Dodgers head to Colorado for a two game series with the Rockies beginning Tuesday at Coors Field. The Giants travel to San Diego for a pair of games, also starting Tuesday.
After the Giants tied the game on a sixth inning RBI single by Buster Posey and a seventh inning solo blast by Pat Burrell, Barry Zito was replaced by Dan Runzler. And things went quickly downhill for the defending World Champions.
The Dodgers came up with an RBI triple by Marcus Thames, scoring James Loney who had singled to right leading off the inning. Thames was replaced by pinch runner Tony Gwynn Jr. who came around to score on pinch-hitter Aaron Miles’ single. Miles then crossed the dish on a double to right by Rafael Furcal, giving Los Angeles a 6-3 lead. Sergio Romo relieved Runzler, and after retiring Jamey Carroll, Romo gave up a line drive single to right for the fourth run in the bottom of the seventh.
Aubrey Huff is having a tough time in right field for the Giants. He hasn’t committed any errors, but has misjudged three balls that might have been fielded.
Heading into the top of the sixth the Dodgers are holding onto a 3-1 lead. Giants’ starter Barry Zito has really settled down after Matt Kemp’s two-run home run in the first, retiring 14 batters in a row with four K’s.
Dodger starter Hiroki Kuroda has retired 12 in a row since Pablo Sandoval’s second inning solo homer. He’s also picked up four strikeouts. Both he and Zito have five K’s apiece. If the Dodgers hold on for the win, it will be the first time since July of 2001 that they’ve beaten the Giants three out of four games in a series.
The Dodgers jumped to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first. SS Rafael Furcal singled off Zito to start the game, then Jamey Carroll tripled to right to right, scoring Furcal. Aubrey Huff dove but came up short and the ball rolled to the warning track. After Andre Ethier struck out swinging, Matt Kemp pulverized a Zito pitch for a two run homer. It was Kemp’s first of the year.
The Giants added a run in the top of the second when Pablo Sandoval hammered a 2-2 Kuroda fastball halfway up the right field pavilion.
Giants’ lefthander Barry Zito shakes off the effects of a car accident earlier in the week to make the start against the Dodgers. Manager Bruce Bochy confirmed the decision before the game, but it was really no surprise since Zito has never missed a start due to injury. He’s also never spent a day on the DL.
He’ll be opposed by Dodgers’ righthander Hiroki Kuroda. 3B Juan Uribe is back in the lineup and batting fifth after missing the last two game with left elbow swelling and stiffness. He was plunked by a Tim Lincecum pitch in the sixth inning of the Dodgers’ opening win over SF. The Dodgers won the first two games of the series, the Giants coming back with a crushing 10-0 win yesterday behind the arm of Matt Cain and the bat of Freddy Sanchez. Sanchez went 3-4 with a homer and 3 RBI.
The Seattle Mariners’ pitching staff had trouble throwing strikes in the 7th inning. That is when Oakland A’s pretty much put the game away with some bases-loaded walks and hits. Going into the 8th inning, the A’s lead 7-1.
Even though this game looks all but over, both fans should be happy with Opening Weekend. Mariners fans won the series and A’s fans pulled out the final game.
Taking into account the nice weather and some competitive baseball, up until the seventh inning of Sunday’s game, it had to be a good weekend whether you are an A’s or Mariners fan.
Through five innings both Gio Gonzalez and Doug Fister have pitched a solid game. Fister gave up his second run of the game on a ground out by Mark Ellis in the fourth. The run came in after Milton Bradly lost a ball in the sun and Josh Willingham was able to go from first to third. Bradley was visibly upset after the lost ball as he has had to hear it from the Oakland faithful all weekend.
It goes to show that baseball fans can find a rivalry with any team. However, both A’s and Mariners fans seem to be very respectful of each other at the Coliseum today. I am always surprised at how considerate A’s fans are of other teams’ fans when the fans of the Raiders, who play in the same stadium, have the exact opposite reputation.
The Cubs went out and acquired Matt Garza and Carlos Pena in an effort to potentially rise the ranks of National League contenders. Both players came through on Sunday, but it still wasn’t enough, as the Pirates pulled out a 5-4 victory.
Pena’s two-run double and Garza’s career-high 12 strikeouts put the Cubs on top 4-3…until the top of the ninth inning. Cubs closer Carlos Marmol walked Garrett Jones and allowed a single to right from Neil Walker (who now has a hit in all 12 career games against Chicago) to start the inning. A sacrifice bunt from Lyle Overbay advanced the runners before a wacky play allowed both Pirates runners to score.
Pittsburgh third baseman Pedro Alvarez tapped a grounder just past Marmol for an infield, game-tying single, but shortstop Starlin Castro threw wide of the bag at first, allowing Walker to come around and score the eventual game-winning run. The play was charged a two-run single for Alvarez.
The Pirates had 16 hits on the day, all of which were singles.
The Cubs threatened in the bottom of the ninth as Castro singled with one out before Ronny Cedeno airmailed second on a potential double play, sending Castro all the way around to third. But, Marlon Byrd rapped into a double play to end the game.
Seattle fans rise and give Ryan Langerhans an ovation as he goes yard to give the Mariners a 1-0 lead. The very next half innig the A’s and Mariners fans join forces in applause when Hideki Matsui picks up career hit number 2500. Ice cream and soda flow like water as families sit back and relax, enjoying a warm California spring day.
In honor of Japanese heritage day a young Japanese girl announces the A’s batters in Japanese. Coco Crisp then gives A’s fans something to get excited about in the bottom of the third with an rbi triple tying up the game 1-1.
During Kerry Wood’s first stint on the Cubs, he usually relied on his ability to get a strikeout to get him out of a jam. Sunday, he relied on his defense to escape trouble in the top of the eighth inning at Wrigley Field, even though it was the defense that got him into the jam.
After back-to-back singles, Carlos Pena booted a ground ball, loading the bases with just one out. The next batter, Jose Tabata, lifted a fly ball to right fielder Tyler Colvin, who came up firing to nab Jason Jaramillo at home to end the inning and keep the Cubs on top 4-3.
The Mets took a three-run lead in the first and never looked back as they beat the Marlins, 9-2, before 18,936 fans at Sun Life Stadium.
New York scored seven runs off Marlins starter Javier Vazquez over 2 1/3 innings and added a paid off lefty reliever Randy Choate in the eighth.
The Marlins were only able to score one unearned run against Mets starter R.A. Dickey in his six strong innings of work. Florida scored on an Omar Infante sacrifice fly to center.
Florida added another run in the seventh when they strung together three consecutive two-out hits, the last an RBI single by Gaby Sanchez, off lefty Chris Capuano. Mets reliever D.J. Carrasco struck out John Buck with the bases loaded to end the Marlins last threat.
It’s easy today to see why Tigers manager Jim Leyland elected to keep Brennan Boesch on the big league club. Boesch has tied his career high with four RBIs today. His line is quite sparkly — four at-bats, four runs, four hits and four RBIs. MLB.com’s Jason Beck said Boesch is the first Tiger to have four runs, four hits and four RBIs in the same game since Dmitri Young did it April 4, 2005, against Kansas City. Miguel Cabrera had four RBIs with his pair of two-run homers. Ryan Raburn and Ramon Santiago also had RBIs.
The Yankees had four home runs of their own — Jorge Posada with his pair of two-run homers, Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano with solo shots. Nick Swisher, who reached base five times, had the other RBI. The Yankees scored 23 runs in the three-game series.
Joaquin Benoit, the Tigers big offseason acquisition, allowed just one hit in the eighth. Closer Jose Valverde walked one but got the save as the Tigers salvaged one win, 10-7.
The other Twins star returning from injury this year is closer Joe Nathan, who missed all of 2010 after undergoing Tommy John surgery last spring. The Twins didn’t give him a save opportunity in either of their first two games in Toronto (heck, they didn’t have a lead — even for a half-inning — in either of those games) but Nathan got his chance on Sunday.
The Twins led 3-2 in the ninth when Denard Span homered off former teammate Jon Rauch, an insurance run that proved to be crucial. Nathan came on and got into hot water almost immediately. Travis Snider beat out an infield single, and after J.P. Arencibia flied out to the wall in left-center, Mike McCoy hit a broken-bat bleeder down the right field line for a double, putting the tying runs in scoring position with one out.
Yunel Escobar crushed a drive to the gap in right-center that Span flagged down for the second out, with both runners advancing. Then, with the tying run on third, Nathan used his whole repertoire in full-count battles with Juan Rivera and Jose Bautista but walked both.
So, with Nathan’s pitch count at 30 and the bases loaded, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire had a decision on his hands: leave Nathan in the game, or bring on lefty Dusty Hughes to face left-handed cleanup hitter Adam Lind. Gardenhire stuck with Nathan, and when Lind inexplicably swung at the first pitch and tapped a weak grounder to first base, the Twins had their first win of the year, and Nathan had his first save since Oct. 3, 2009.
"It’s just special, a good moment," Nathan told FOX Sports North’s Robby Incmikoski after the game. "When I get in and take a step back and put this thing in perspective, where I’ve come from, just to be out here right now it means something. A year after surgery and out there competing again, it means a lot."
The Rays may have hoisted the AL East Division championship banner at the front end of their season-opening series with the Orioles, but this was hardly a banner weekend for them. Their 5-1 loss to Baltimore — on the heels of a 4-1 setback Friday and 3-1 defeat Saturday — gave the Rays their first 0-3 start since the franchise began in 1998. Not even in the bad old days did Tampa Bay find a way to lose its first three games. In addition, the last defending division champ to do that was the 2007 St. Louis Cardinals.
Meanwhile, the long-suffering Orioles continued their winning ways under manager Buck Showalter, staying atop the AL East at 3-0. Though they endured their 13th straight losing season in 2010, the O’s finished strong (34-23) after Showalter took over last Aug. 3 — the best mark in the division during that span. Their start in 2011 bodes well for a revitalized Baltimore ballclub, while Tampa Bay’s stumble out of the gates raises serious questions about how competitive the team will be.
Adding insult to injury for the Rays, the announced attendance — two days after the season-opening sellout – was 17,408. Ouch.
4:19 p.m. — A’s and Mariners pay tribute to tsunami victims
On a 60- degree, blue-skied day in Oakland, California, the A’s and Mariners get ready to face off in the final game of the series. Unlike opening night and more like last night, the Coliseum is not very full. Since it’s Japanese heritage day here in Oakland, the A’s and Mariners pay their respects to the victims of the tragedy in Japan in a pregame ceremony.
After the Star Spangled Banner, the A’s take the field in their new yellow uniforms. The relatively small crowd is now buzzing and excited to watch some baseball. Fans in Oakland don’t pack the house every night but you can still feel the rush of baseball, listening to the drum and trumpet players sounding the start of the game. The crowd is mostly A’s fans, as one would assume, but you can see a smattering of Seattle Mariner fans throughout the stadium sitting back and getting ready to watch Gio Gonzalez take on Doug Fister. Play ball!
It’s over in Cincinnati, and the Reds completed the sweep of Milwaukee in a 12-3 blowout.
The Reds piled up 19 hits on the day, grabbing a base hit in every inning except the third. In their 2010 playoff season, their high mark was 19 hits, achieved twice.
Bronson Arroyo shook off the effects of mononucleosis that hampered him all spring, and went seven strong innings, allowing three runs on six hits. He struck out five and did not allow a walk.
Ryan Hanigan went 4-for-4 on the day with 4 RBIs, and two home runs. brandon Phillips added three hits and three RBIs.
Aroldis Chapman pitched the ninth inning for Cincinnati, the first appearance for the Cuban Missile in 2011. He threw 12 pitches, and 8 of them were 100 MPH or higher, with a maximum speed of 103. He struck out one, and forced two weak grounders.
And the Rangers take a run right back with a monster blast by Nelson Cruz, putting one in the upper deck of the home run porch. Cue Johnny Cash as the ring of fire has wrapped the video boards in the Ballpark and that’s going to be it for Clay Buchholz. Dennys Reyes is making his third appearance of the season now for the Sox.
And for those not keeping box score at home … that is four home runs on five hits today for Texas.
With game moving to last of the 8th and Phillies leading 7-2 a sweep is likely and the Astros who started last season 0-8 but finished strong are heading to 0-3 with a trip to Cincinnati starting Tuesday. Anything better than 0-8 is an improvement for Houston but running into Philadelphia and the Reds to open could make it rough. Florida is in Houston on Friday for the Astros home opener. The Phillies take on the Mets next.
Wade Davis came into the game against the Orioles with a career 3-1 record and stellar 2.29 ERA. And for much of Sunday’s game, Davis continued that mastery. He got through the first six innings allowing only four hits and one run, keeping the Rays in the game at 1-1. But in the top of the seventh, he hit the wall — and Tampa Bay suddenly found itself in another big hole.
Wieters led off with a single to right and advanced to second on Adam Jones’ single to center. Then, new Orioles third baseman Mark Reynolds lashed a run-scoring double down the line in left. That scored Wieters to put Baltimore ahead 2-1. Davis got a momentary respite when Felix Pie grounded out to short. But the next batter, J.J. Hardy, ripped a double to left to bring home Jones and Reynolds and put the O’s on top 4-1.
That was it for Davis, was replaced by Cesar Ramos. Following a Brian Roberts pop out, the Rays escaped further damage when Fuld fielded a single to left by Markakis. He threw a strike to catcher Kelly Shoppach, who tagged out Hardy for the final out of the inning.
Carlos Pena and Matt Garza spent three years as teammates in Tampa Bay, but both moved to Chicago in the offseason, albeit by different means (Garza was traded, Pena signed as a free agent).
On Sunday, during Garza’s first National League start, Pena picked up his first hit as a Cub and it was a big one.
Chicago finally got to the Pirates’ starting pitching, loading the bases on three singles with nobody out. Pena stepped to the plate and drilled a full count pitch high off the wall in right field, narrowly missing a grand slam.
While the Cubs retrieved the ball as a memento for Pena, the umpires gathered around to discuss if there was any fan interference on the play, as a beverage was accidentally spilled onto the field onto Pirates right fielder Garrett Jones just as the ball hit off the wall.
After a two-minute delay, no fan interference was ruled and play resumed, though the Cubs failed to push across any more runs.
After impressing in 2010, R.A. Dickey started his 2011 campaign with a strong first outing.
The Mets knuckleballer allowed just one unearned run over six innings against the Marlins on Sunday. Dickey’s knuckleball induced a lot of ugly swings from the Marlins and helped him limit them to five hits while striking out seven. Florida’s only run against Dickey came in the third inning on an Omar Infante sacrifice fly to center.
The Marlins had more success against the pitcher who replaced Dickey, lefty Chris Capuano. The Marlins strung together three consecutive two-out hits, the last an RBI single by Gaby Sanchez, to cut the Mets lead to five. Capuano then walked Logan Morrison to load the bases and was lifted in favor of right-hander D.J. Carrasco.
Carrasco ended the Marlins threat when he struck out John Buck with the bases loaded to preserve the Mets’ 7-2 lead though seven innings.
One storyline all baseball fans will be following in early April is the return of Justin Morneau, who was having an MVP-type season last year when he suffered a concussion on July 7 and missed the rest of the season.
In his first series of the year — coincidentally back in Toronto, site of his season-ending injury — Morneau escaped with his health intact. He fielded all of his chances at first base flawlessly, though he wasn’t really tested. He hit a few balls hard, including a warning-track fly to right on Opening Night and a couple of line drives to the gaps that Blue Jays outfielders ran down.
Morneau finally got his first hit of the year on Sunday, in perhaps the oddest way possible. The Jays employed an exaggerated shift on Morneau and Jim Thome, both dead-pull hitters, especially on ground balls. In the eighth inning, Toronto reliever Marc Rzepczynski got one in on Morneau’s fists and broke his bat. The ball dribbled out to short and Morneau easily legged out an infield single.
3:25 p.m. — Strong winds sending balls into the seats
Mike Napoli hits the third solo shot for the Rangers on the day, extending the lead to 3-0 after five innings. If you’ve never been to the Ballpark, when the flags are blowing in towards home plate as hard as they are, you’d think it would be a rough day for hitters. In fact, it’s just the opposite and the wind stream is in full effect…just get one in the air and you’ve got a shot at it going a long way.
New feature at the Ballpark this season, a "Twitter" question of the day where they post fans tweets on the new jumbotron. Today’s question…"Who’s your favorite Ranger of all-time?"
Right now, it’s a dead-heat between Nolan Ryan and Pudge Rodriguez.
Matt Garza had two full days to mentally prepare for his first start as a Cub at Wrigley Field. Maybe that was too long.
Garza, the pitcher the Cubs sacrificed several top prospects to acquire, has struggled in his first outing, allowing seven hits and two runs through his first three innings.
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh starting pitching continues to mystify the Cubs’ offense as Ross Ohlendorf has allowed just one hit through three innings. Pirates starters have still only allowed two earned runs — both of which were scored early in Friday’s Opening Day contest — through their first 15.2 innings of the 2011 season.
The hits just keep on coming — for both the Yankees and Tigers. Brennan Boesch hit a two-run home run that briefly made it 7-4. Jorge Posada, now competing with Mark Teixeira and Miguel Cabrera, cut it to 7-6 in the bottom of the fifth inning with his second two-run home run of the day. Posada has seen Cabrera, now we’ll have to wait and see if Cabrera raises him. That’s seven home runs total.
According to MLB.com’s Jason Beck, the last Tiger to give up four home runs in a game was Jarrod Washburn, who allowed four in six innings against Seattle on Aug. 20, 2009.
In Michigan, people can get free curly fries from Arby’s on Monday by bringing in the box score showing the Tigers hit three home runs. With the ballpark the Yankees play in, I would imagine such a promotion would be cost-prohibitive.
Oddly, the Tigers did manage to score a couple of non-homer runs on Ramon Santiago’s RBI double in the sixth inning, followed by Boesch’s sacrifice fly, 9-6.
In Cincinnati, the Reds have not slowed down the hit parade, piling on their 15th hit of the day in an 11-3 romp after six.
Ryan Hanigan hit his first of the season in the fifth. Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun followed with a towering 452-foot shot into the upper deck. Left-fielder Jonny Gomes didn’t even chase it….there was no point in trying.
Hanigan trumped it in the sixth with a three-run shot that barely cleared the wall in left field.
14 home runs have been hit this weekend by 11 different players.
For Milwaukee, the damage has been done by Rickie Weeks (2), Braun (2), Erick Almonte and carlos Gomez.
For Cincinnati, it’s been from Hanigan (2), Joey Votto, Ramon Hernandez, Drew Stubbs, Scott Rolen, Brandon Phillips, and Jonny Gomes.
The Indians are now on the cusp of their first victory as they lead
4-1 in the bottom of the eighth. Hard-throwing reliever Tony Sipp relieved Justin Masterson and retired the White Sox in order in the eighth. It’s cold and drizzling in Cleveland and just a few folks are around hoping to celebrate the first victory. For the second-straight day, the announced attendance (8,726) is an all-time low at Progressive Field.
The Rays finally found a way to score early – as in prior to the eighth and ninth innings – Sunday against the Orioles. It wasn’t exactly a show of dominating force, but two walks and an RBI bunt got a run home in the third inning. And the way things have been going for Tampa Bay, that was a moral victory.
Matt Joyce led off the bottom frame with a walk off Zach Britton, and left fielder Sam Fuld – playing in place of Johnny Damon – followed with another walk. B.J. Upton then blooped a ball just over the head of Baltimore second baseman Brian Roberts, but once again right fielder Nick Markakis showed why he’s one of the game’s best in the outfield. He charged, one-handed the ball and fired to second in time to get Fuld for the force, with Joyce reaching third and Upton first.
Newcomer Elliot Johnson, starting at short, came up big by laying down a perfect bunt. That brought home Joyce to tie the score 1-all and moved Upton into scoring position at second
But once again, Upton fell short on the base paths, getting thrown at by Wieters trying to steal third. If you’re keeping track, Upton has now been thrown out twice this series attempting to steal third and also was thrown out at the plate Saturday night.
Tsuyoshi Nishioka’s had an interesting MLB debut this weekend. He’s shown signs of nerves in the field, making two errors and a couple other misplays that don’t show up in the scorebook. But he’s also shown speed, decent bat control and an ability to put his mistakes behind him.
His throwing error in the fourth inning allowed the Jays to tie the game at 1, but he lashed an RBI single in the next half inning as the Twins regained the lead 3-1. Jose Bautista hit his second homer of the series to cut the Minnesota lead in half in the bottom of the sixth.
However, the Twins have to be kicking themselves for missed opportunities in the middle innings. In the fourth, a Matt Tolbert single drove in a run but third base coach Steve Liddle (who’s in his first year on the job) gave Danny Valencia the green light and he was thrown out at the plate by 10 feet — for the first out of the inning, no less.
After Denard Span and Nishioka singled, Delmon Young popped up the first pitch he saw with the bases loaded. Then Justin Morneau worked the count full before ripping a liner to left-center that Travis Snider tracked down.
In the sixth, the Twins had runners on the corners with nobody out, but Valencia struck out, catcher Drew Butera popped out and Tolbert grounded out to end the threat.
Fireworks — by the Indians’ standards, anyway. Orlando Cabrera’s two-run homer in the sixth inning, his first as an Indian, has given the Indians their first lead of the season, 2-1 over the White Sox.
Pitchers have dominated this fast-moving game, and John Danks was close to masterful for Chicago before Cabrera jumped on his first-pitch fastball. Danks has eight strikeouts, and Justin Masterson keeps making White Sox hitters hit weak ground balls.
Can Masterson and the Indians’ bullpen hold this lead? Remember, the Sox scored 23 runs in the first two games of this series but are now down to their final two at bats.
The Cubs gave up four prospects to acquire Matt Garza from the Rays in the offseason. Cubs manager Mike Quade knew moving from Tampa Bay to Chicago and pitching in historic Wrigley Field would be a major adjustment for the 27-year-old hurler, so he slated him third in the rotation, allowing two full days to take in the surroundings before taking the hill.
Now, the Cubs need Garza to speed up his learning curve in order to avoid a dreaded series loss to a Pirates squad that dropped 105 games just a season ago. He came close to escaping the first two innings unscathed, but a two-out single in from Ronny Cedeno put the Bucs up 1-0 in the second inning.
In the other dugout, the Pirates entered the 2011 season with big concerns surrounding the pitching staff, especially with the starting rotation. But, during the first two games of the new year, Pittsburgh starters have sharp, allowing just two earned runs in 12.2 innings.
The Texas Flag Girls on Green’s Hill at the Ballpark are getting a real workout this series as the Rangers have hit another home run against the Red Sox. This time, David Murphy, getting his first start this season, pushed his second homer over the right field wall off of Clay Buchholz, giving the Rangers a 1-0 lead after two.
The story of the day is the weather. It’s a very hot Sunday after noon and the winds are swirling, trash is flying around … and play stopped before the Murphy home run as a dirt tornado picked up steam just off of third base.
All around baseball, players are looking at Mark Teixeira and are paraphrasing Meg Ryan in "When Harry Met Sally," saying, "I’ll have what Teixeira’s having."
Good grief, Teixeira just hit his third home run in three games. The only difference today is there weren’t two men on base when he did it. Apparently, Teixeira doesn’t want Miguel Cabrera to catch up to him in homers or RBIs. According to Jayson Stark, this is the 10th time that Teixeira has hit home runs in three or more straight games but the first time he’s done it before May. Seven times he’s done it after the All-Star Game.
Not to be outdone, Robinson Cano hit a solo shot of his own, drawing the Yankees to within one run. Here’s guessing the 5-4 score won’t stay that way, not the way the ball is jumping out of the ballpark.
Phil Hughes’ day is done as Bartolo Colon comes in to start the fifth inning. Hughes allowed five runs on five hits in four innings.
Bud Norris has six strikeouts through three innings for Houston, but trails 5-1 because he can’t throw strikes to Ryan Howard until 3-0 counts. Howard has a three-run homer and RBI double for four RBIs. Hunter Pence a solo homer for Houston in the top of the 4th.
The Reds have broken it open in the bottom of the fourth inning in Cincinnati.
Milwaukee tied the game at 2-2, thanks to Randy Wolf helping his own cause with a double and later scoring on a Rickie Weeks double. Weeks has had an amazing series, with two HRs so far. He’s batting .364 in the leadoff spot.
But a four-run fourth inning has put the Reds in control at 6-2. With runners at 2nd and 3rd and two outs, Drew Stubbs sent a slow grounder to third base. Casey McGehee came up throwing to the plate, having no chance to get the speedy Stubbs at first. But Ryan Hannigan was running at the crack of the bat and slid in under the tag for the first run of the inning.
Three pitches later, Brandon Phillips hit his first home run of the year, a 3-run shot down the left field line.
Joey Votto followed with a single and Scott Rolen laced a ground-rule double, but both men were left stranded.
2:25 p.m. — Diamondbacks-Rockies may get cancelled
The Arizona-Colorado game was placed in a weather delay at 12:20 MT, and it appears likely that the game will be cancelled because of inclement weather blowing in from the west. The tarp was just rolled onto the field.
There is a blizzard in the mountains west of Denver, and according to reports traffic on I-70 coming into Denver is all but stopped.
The teams have two more series in Colorado – May 24-26 and Sept. 5-7 – and could easily make the game up later in the season.
The listless, 0-2 Rays got the news they feared Sunday prior to game-time with the Orioles. All-Star third baseman Evan Longoria was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique – an injury that forced him out of the game Saturday night in the sixth inning. Longoria was 0-5 this season with a walk before departing for the DL prior to Baltimore’s 3-1 victory. His absence won’t do anything to help the struggling Tampa Bay offense — and is a blow to the defense, too.
Taking his place on the active roster is infielder Felipe Lopez, brought up from Triple-A Durham. Lopez, 30, was in minor league camp after being reassigned to Durham in the last week of spring training. He batted .333 (13-for-39) with eight walks and five RBI as a non-roster invite to major league camp. Lopez is a switch-hitter who spent parts of the past 10 seasons with the Jays, Reds, Nationals, Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Brewers and Red Sox. He’s a lifetime .266 hitters with 88 homers and 123 stolen bases.
Meanwhile, the Rays started off Sunday still looking for some offense. Heading into the second, they trailed the Orioles 1-0, following a first-inning RBI single by catcher Matt Wieters.
Kirk Gibson had a victory to celebrate two hours before the Diamondbacks’ game against Colorado began Sunday, when he got word that his son Cam’s Honeybaked team won the USA Hockey Tier 1 U16 national championship.
Honeybaked, based in Detroit, beat Shattuck St. Mary’s, 3-2, in the title game in Simsbury, Conn., for its second consecutive title. Cam who plays wing, scored a goal in a quarterfinal victory Saturday morning before Honeybaked advanced to the finals by winning Saturday night. Honeybaked has beaten Shattuck two years in a row in the title game.
2:11 p.m. — Downward spiral continues for Marlins, Vazquez
Javier Vazquez hoped to make a good first impression in his Marlins debut but the Mets had other plans.
After allowing three runs in the first inning, Vazquez gave up a solo homer to Ike Davis to give the Mets a 4-0 lead. The veteran right-hander then walked Angel Pagan and gave up a base hit to Lucas Duda. Daniel Murphy followed with a ground rule double to center that drove in Pagan.
Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez then ordered an intentional walk to Josh Thole before lifting Vazquez in favor of right-hander Edward Mujica. But things continued to spiral downward for the Marlins.
Mujica got Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey to hit a grounder to third but Emilio Bonifacio threw the ball to the backstop as he tried to get a force out at home. Two more runs scored on the throwing error to give Dickey and the Mets a 7-0 lead.
The Yankees are apparently believers that chicks dig the long ball. Jorge Posada hit a two-run, game-tying home run in the second inning. That marks the sixth home run the Yankees have hit in the three games of this series.
In the third, Brennan Boesch’s second hit of the day scored Austin Jackson, who used his speed to beat out Curtis Granderson’s on-target throw from center field. Miguel Cabrera followed that up with his second two-run home run of the day as the Tigers took a 5-2 lead. Cabrera is apparently trying to catch up to Mark Teixeira and the Tigers are trying to beat the Yankees at their own game — by hitting the ball out of the park.
Phillies blast to an early 4-0 lead to support former Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt. A three-run homer by Ryan Howard and solo shot by Ben Francisco off Bud Norris has Philly looking sharp. After one, the Phillies lead the Astros 4-0.
The Cleveland Indians are alive! The top of the fourth inning ended when first baseman Carlos Santana, the Indians’ usual starting catcher, made a diving catch on a bunt attempt by Alexi Ramirez.
Santana sprinted down the baseline, sprawled out and then casually tossed the ball to second baseman Orlando Cabrera at first.
Baserunners Carlos Quentin and A.J. Pierzynski had taken off on contact and had no chance to get back as the Indians pulled off the season’s triple play.
Looking to avoid a season-opening sweep in Toronto, the Twins have taken their first lead of the 2011 season as Danny Valencia’s leadoff homer in the third inning put Minnesota on top 1-0. It’s still the only hit for the Twins, who were held to one hit on Saturday in a 6-1 loss.
Nick Blackburn has thrown three scoreless innings for Minnesota, while Brett Cecil has struggled with his control but has walked only one through four frames.
Bronson Arroyo had the fans in Cincinnati worried early, but he has settled down. After two innings, the Reds lead 2-1.
Ricky Weeks led off the game, his 23rd lead-off home run of his career (and his second this year). It traveled 431 feet into the left field upper deck. Since that lead-off blast, Arroyo has retired each of the six batters he has faced.
Jonny Gomes led off the bottom of the second inning with a 409-foot home run over the left-center field wall. Jay Bruce followed with a single and stole second base. Ryan Hanigan then picked up an infield single, followed by an RBI base hit from Paul Janish to give us our current score.
Small crowd today at Great American Ball Park. I’m guessing 21,000.
All’s quiet at Progressive Field in Cleveland. Well, the White Sox did take a 1-0 lead in the third inning on a two-out RBI single by longtime Indians killer Paul Konerko, but both pitchers — Justin Masterson for the Tribe, John Danks for the Sox — have been good. And it’s really quiet but it seems like no one is even at this game.
Yesterday’s attendance of 9,853 was not only sad but an all-time low in the place formerly known as Jacobs Field. And today’s crowd on a dreary and cold day in Cleveland might even be smaller. The Indians stink, their fans know it and plenty of good seats — like, more than 30,000 — are still available.
The Mets did not waste any time getting to Marlins starter Javier Vazquez.
Making his Marlins debut, Vazquez had a rough first inning as the first five Mets hitters all reached base. Jose Reyes led off the game with a double off the wall in right. Willie Harris followed with a two-run homer to right.
Vazquez then walked David Wright and gave up a single to Ike Davis. Marlins right-fielder Scott Cousins helped his pitcher out by gunning Wright out at third to record the first out of the inning.
The veteran then walked Angel Pagan before inducing what could have been a double play ball from Lucas Duda but Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez’s wild throw to first allowed Davis to come around to score the Mets third run of the day.
Vazquez was able to get out of the inning on a Daniel Murphy flyout to left but it’s safe to say his 14th season in the Majors did not get off to the start he was hoping for.
Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera did what he does best, bury the ball in the outfield seats as the Tigers have a 2-0 first-inning lead. Brennan Boesch was on base after his base hit. In 26 career games against the New York Yankees, Cabrera has hit safely in 25. Against Yankees starter Phil Hughes, 24, Cabrera is now 6-for-13 with two home runs.
The Tigers, who lost the first two games of the series, need a strong performance from their starter, Max Scherzer. One thing Scherzer wants to avoid is letting Mark Teixeira hit a three-run homer as he’s done in his first two games. Scherzer is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA lifetime against the Yankees.
After just two games, the Marlins bench is a bit thin.
Manager Edwin Rodriguez has just 23 available players for Sunday’s series finale against the Mets.
Two members of the Marlins’ Opening Day lineup are out, right fielder Mike Stanton and third baseman Donnie Murphy, are nursing injuries. Rodriguez says they would be available to pinch hit in an emergency situation.
The Marlins anticipate both will be ready to return to the lineup on Tuesday against the Nationals but Emilio Bonifacio will have to fill in at third base and Scott Cousins will cover right field as Florida tries to figure out R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball this afternoon.
12:32 p.m. — Astros-Phillies pregame notes: Victorino out
Phillies will give Shane Victorino the day off in center field after suffering a calf injury in an outfield collision on Saturday. Victorino says he is OK, but Michael Martinez will get the start.
Astros pitcher, J.A. Happ, originally scheduled to work Sunday, but scratched to give his healing oblique strain more time, says he will be ready to go Tuesday in Cincinnati for the Astros.
Sunday will be the first time former Astro Roy Oswalt has ever faced his old team. Players expect him to be the usual very aggressive self. The Astros swept the Phillies in a four-game series in Philadelphia last season, but need a win today to keep the Phils from sweeping this three game set.
The festivities conclude today with a full schedule of day games. The action starts just after 1:00 p.m. with White Sox-Indians, Tigers-Yankees, Twins-Blue Jays, Brewers-Reds, Mets-Marlins, Braves-Nationals, Astros-Phillies and Orioles-Rays also starting up in the next hour. Keep it here all day long for our final day of live commentary from around the league.