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And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Pirates 1, Cubs 0: More like Neil Walkoff, amirite? All goose eggs until the bottom of the tenth when Walker pulled a Mazeroski. Well, it wasn’t quite as significant as that, but you know what I mean.

Phillies 14, Rangers 10: Cliff Lee: eight runs on 11 hits in five innings and the win. Given how many amazing games he’s pitched over the past couple of years only to get a no-decision or a loss thanks to the lack of bullpen or run support, he deserves every bit of this ugly win. Meanwhile, Jimmy Rollins spent all spring being called every name in the book because he’s not a leader and doesn’t always say the right stuff but he hit a grand slam here, so take that leadership.

Brewers 2, Braves 0: A two-run double by Aramis Ramirez in the fourth was all the scoring in this fairly boring, offensively impotent game. Ryan Braun’s big standing O and the temper tantrum’s from the media in its wake was the most exciting thing about it.

Tigers 4, Royals 3: Everyone mocked the Tigers when they traded for Alex Gonzalez last week. And, over the course of months, I question whether Gonzalez is gonna earn his keep. But on this day he was the hero, knocking in the winning run in the ninth. Off Greg Holland, no less. Worth noting that Ned Yost went with the classic “don’t bring your closer in when it’s tied on the road” orthodoxy to begin the inning, but then relented and brought in Holland with two men on. I guess he gets some sort of credit for that even though it ended up not working.

Nationals 9, Mets 7:  Anthony Rendon hit a three-run homer in the 10th and drove in four overall. It doesn’t get to the tenth if Bobby Parnell doesn’t blow the save in the form of a two-out double to Denard Span in the ninth. But hey, at least it got that far.

Orioles 2, Red Sox 1: A big day for Grady Sizemore, but Nelson Cruz was the hero here, hitting the tiebreaking homer in the seventh. Tommy Hunter made it mildly interesting in the ninth, but locked down the save. As I was watching it, I pictured Grant Balfour watching the game in the Rays’ clubhouse, saying “Yeah, blow the save, mate! Blow the bloody save!”

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $70,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Tuesday’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $9,000. Starts at 6:40pm ET on TuesdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Cardinals 1, Reds 0: Great start from Wainwright, shutdown bullpen work, big hit from Molina. Yep, these are the Cardinals. Billy Hamilton led off for the Reds and went 0 for 4 with 4Ks. So, yeah, that experiment is off to a bumpy start.

Rays 9, Blue Jays 2: If you bought stock in 2012 Cy Young Award winners, I hope you bought it in David Price and not in R.A. Dickey. Price took a shutout into the eighth before he hit a wall. Still only gave up two runs. Dickey, on the other hand walked six dudes and allowed six runs on five hits.

White Sox 5, Twins 3: Alejandro De Aza hit two homers and Jose Abreu had two hits. Also, some tech fun: The Twins’ replay system suffered two blown fuses which messed up the monitors in the their clubhouse. Lucky for everyone, though, this one wasn’t close.

Marlins 10, Rockies 1: Jose Fernandez struck out nine and allowed one run in six innings and Marcell Ozuna [altogether now] was a triple short of the cycle. Fernande’z grandmother Olga, who is from Cuba and with whom he had a tearful reunion this past winter, was at the game. The cameras showed her more than most of the Rockies. This was probably the smart move. She’s adorable.

Mariners 10, Angels 3: Mike Trout hit a homer and drove in a couple but Justin Smoak drove in three and King Felix struck out 11. It was close until late when Seattle put up six in the ninth to win their eighth consecutive opener. Which, given how Seattle has done over the past few years, tells you all you need to know about the value of winning the opener.

Indians 2, Athletics 0: Cubs-Pirates West. All zeroes until the ninth when Nyjer Morgan hit a sac fly and Nick Swisher singled in a run for insurance. Both runs came off the A’s new $10 million closer Jim Johnson, who started the carnage off with a walk, a single and a hit-by-pitch before Morgan and Swisher came up. Justin Masterson shut out the A’s for seven. Yeah, Cleveland, that’s not a guy to whom you want to give a short, team-friendly contract extension. Oy. The loss is Oakland’s tenth straight on Opening Day. Which, given how Oakland has done over the past few years, tells you all you need to know about the value of winning the opener.

Giants 9, Diamondbacks 8: San Francisco was down 7-3 heading into the seventh before the Giants woke up and put their rally caps on and put up four on Brandon McCarthy, Oliver Perez and Brad Zeigler. Buster Posey put the Giants ahead for good with a two-run homer in the ninth. All four of the runs Giants starter Madison Bumgarner gave up were unearned because apparently it was defense-optional night at Chase Field. But when you have Buster Posey that stuff can be overcome. The Dbacks catcher was pretty good too. Miguel Montero had three hits and reached base five times.

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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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.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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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.