UPDATE: Turn out the lights, folks. Jim Johnson had nothing, and now the Yankees sport a 7-2 lead.
11:56 PM: So many chances for both teams had gone by the wayside by the ninth inning rolled around, the last of which came in the bottom of the eighth. There the Orioles got a leadoff double from J.J. Hardy, only to have him stranded when CC Sabathia bore down and retired the heart of the O’s order — Adam Jones, Matt Weiters and Mark Reynolds — to escape the jam.
Then, to lead off the ninth, Russell Martin hit a homer off Orioles closer Jim Johnson. It’s now 4-2 in the ninth, and the Yankees aren’t done yet. Two men on and no one out.
10:19 PM: It’s now the bottom of the fifth, tied at two. The Yankees scored their second run on when Mark Teixeira singled in Alex Rodriguez in the fourth. Teixeira was thrown out trying to stretch it to two, however, shortening the inning. Two base running mistakes so far for the Bombers. You wonder if they’re gonna wish they didn’t give away those outs.
9:44 PM: The game finally got underway after a nearly two and a half hour rain delay, but the long delay worked out as we didn’t run into some awful replay of the CC Sabathia-Justin Verlander aborted start from last year. We’re three innings and change in now, and the Orioles lead the Yankees 2-1.
The Yankees drew first blood in the first inning, with Derek Jeter singling and Ichiro doubling him in. Then Ichiro was promptly gunned down trying to steal third because someone though that was a good idea.
The Orioles came back in the third with Chris Davis and Lew Ford singling, each being advanced a base on a Robert Andino bunt and then both scoring when Nate McLouth singled them in.
After a few bumps in the first inning, Jason Hammel seems to have settled down and seems to be in something of a groove. CC Sabathia is CC Sabathia. Looks like a good one so far.
The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.
Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).
A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.
The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.