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And That Happened: Friday’s Scores and Highlights

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Yesterday was a weird day for baseball. Eight teams had the day off immediately following their season openers on Thursday, and those who did take the field ended up getting into some shenanigans — from Mike Trout‘s first home run of the year to the Marlins’ 17-inning marathon, Johnny Cueto‘s near-perfect game and Scott Kingery‘s first MLB hit.

These are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Pirates 13, Tigers 10 (13 innings): Nicholas Castellanos nearly capped the Tigers’ first win of the season on Friday, narrowly evading the tag at the plate from Pirates backstop Francisco Cervelli as he scored the go-ahead run in the 10th. After the Tigers finished celebrating on the field, they were called back during what they thought was a “courtesy review”:

Instead of sealing their victory, the tag was retroactively confirmed and the game plodded on for another three innings before Gregory Polanco bit down on a 3-0 fastball for the game-winning shot in the 13th. Even more alarming: Home plate umpire Mike Everitt got dinged in the face mask by a George Kontos pitch in the eighth inning and was removed from the game with a concussion.

Nationals 2, Reds 0: It probably makes more sense to wait until the end of the year to determine the Cy Young Award winners, but if the season were to end after just two days, Max Scherzer would have a compelling case for the title. The Nationals’ ace twirled six scoreless innings of five-hit, 10-strikeout ball during the club’s season opener against the Reds, backed by two productive outs from Ryan Zimmerman and Brian Goodwin. Only two Nationals/Expos starters have done as well in their Opening Day starts: Stephen Strasberg, who whiffed 10 batters en route to a no-decision in 2014, and four-time All-Star, ERA leader and Cy Young runner-up Steve Rogers, who pitched a complete three-hitter to rout the Phillies in 1982.

Yankees 4, Blue Jays 2: Aroldis Chapman made things interesting for the Yankees in the ninth inning — though, thankfully, not in the same way he livened up a spring training game last Wednesday. He fanned Josh Donaldson and Justin Smoak on six straight pitches, then gave up back-to-back doubles to Steve Pearce and Yangervis Solarte to bring the tying run to the plate. Luckily for the Yankees, Chapman still had some gas left in the tank… enough to catch Randal Grichuk looking with a 100-m.p.h. fastball.

Red Sox 1, Rays 0: The Red Sox recovered from their ugly loss on Thursday and looked every bit the potential postseason contender on Friday as David Price blanked them over seven sharp innings of four-hit, five-strikeout ball. Blake Snell held his ground for 5 2/3 scoreless innings as well, but it only took one Rafael Devers RBI single to poke a hole in the Rays’ defense and give the Sox an irreversible lead.

Marlins 2, Cubs 1 (17 innings): It’s only the third day of the 2018 season, and already we’ve had six extra-inning games. This one was a doozy — at five hours and 19 minutes, it was still shorter than the Pirates/Tigers five-hour, 27-minute debacle earlier in the day — and its 17 innings tied a major-league record for the longest game in the first two days of any regular season to date. Despite only managing to attract a crowd of 12,034, the Marlins put on a playoff-worthy show: top prospect Lewis Brinson collected four hits, tying J.T. Realmuto‘s rookie record from 2015; Miami starter Caleb Smith (5 1/3 innings) was outpaced by reliever Jarlin Garcia (six innings); a fan made a heroic (or stupid, depending on how you look at it) barehanded catch; and Miguel Rojas recorded his first career walk-off hit.

Phillies 4, Braves 4 (11 innings): While Gabe Kapler shied away from further controversy during his second game of the season, he continued to play fast and loose with the bullpen. A record nine pitchers were used over the course of 11 innings; barring September contests, the Phillies haven’t deployed that many pitchers in a game since 2013 (h/t MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki). This time, it appeared to work in his favor. The bullpen allowed just one run over seven innings, while the offense took care of the rest: Rhys Hoskins and Carlos Santana put up their first homers of the year, highly-touted prospect Scott Kingery collected two laser-beam, 108 m.p.h. base hits and Santana returned with a sac fly in the 11th to secure Kapler’s first win in Philadelphia.

Rangers 5, Astros 1: The Astros’ 2017 season must have ended on Thursday, because they entered Friday looking… a little lost. Dallas Keuchel was knocked around by the Rangers’ left-handed batters in a rare moment (or four) of weakness. Nomar Mazara did the most damage, returning a fastball to center field for the Rangers’ first run of the night — and the team’s first homer of the season.

At least they still have the World Series championship ring ceremony to look forward to this week.

Diamondbacks 9, Rockies 8: The pitching might need some tweaking still, but the Diamondbacks’ offense already looks like it’s in midseason form. At least, Nick Ahmed does. The D-backs’ shortstop clobbered a three-run homer in the first inning and returned for a pair of RBI base hits later in the game. Neither starter could hold their own for long — Tyler Anderson was pulled in the third after issuing seven runs; Robbie Ray hung on through the fifth with seven of his own — and the battle of the bats eventually fell in Arizona’s favor following John Ryan Murphy‘s anticlimactic run-producing groundout in the fifth.

Angels 2, Athletics 1: I’m pretty sure the season doesn’t officially start until Mike Trout hits his first home run of the year, so happy new Opening Day, y’all. Trout ripped a 374-footer off of Sean Manaea in the first inning for his 26th career knock against the Athletics. The bats stayed fairly quiet after that — Tyler Skaggs pitched a clean 6 1/3 innings and Manaea saw just three more baserunners before making his eventual departure in the eighth. Trout returned in the ninth to score the winning run off of Justin Upton‘s one-out, go-ahead RBI single, handing the Angels their first win of the year and making me harbor some serious doubts about my AL wild card picks.

Brewers 8, Padres 6: Ryan Braun entered Friday’s game without a hit and exited it with a three-run, 402-foot blast off of Brad Hand in the ninth. The home run not only put the brakes on his scoreless skid, but also helped extend the Brewers’ winning streak to two games — a meaningless record in the grand scheme of things, but a feat the Brewers haven’t pulled off in a decade.

Giants 1, Dodgers 0: Raise your hand if you pegged Joe Panik to set an MLB record for home runs hit in consecutive 1-0 games. Keep your hand up if you thought Panik could pull that kind of nonsense off during a Clayton Kershaw/Ty Blach matchup on Opening Day, then turn around and decimate a ninth-inning fastball from Kenley Jansen the next night. Don’t put that hand down unless you failed to foresee that Blach’s pristine Opening Day start would be followed by six perfect innings from Johnny Cueto, who finally lost his bid on Chris Taylor‘s leadoff bloop single in the seventh. (Wow, you’re good.)

And That Happened: Tuesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Angels 8, Astros 7: Charlie Morton and Shohei Ohtani have been two of the most talked about pitchers to start the season and they faced off in this one. Not too stellar a faceoff, unfortunately, as Mike Trout homered off of the first pitch Morton threw him and Andrelton Simmons followed him in the act. The Angels would score two more off of him in the third and he wouldn’t last four. Meanwhile, Ohtani gave up four runs, including a homer to Derek Fisher and would see another run for which he was responsible score on a Brian McCann go-ahead blast. His night would end having given up four runs as well. Anaheim tied it back up on an Albert Pujols single and then Simmons would hit his second homer of the night — a three-run shot — to give the Angels a lead they would not surrender. Fun fact: Mike Scioscia ran out of mound visits in this one. Unless I missed one, he was the first manager to do so in a game since the mound visit rule was established.

Cubs 10, Indians 3🎶Kyle Schwarber came back to Ohio . . . and his city was gone . . . but the guy who wrote about it . . . was a Republican pawn . . . A, oh, way to go O-hi-o . . .🎶 Two homers for the best thing to come out of Middletown, Ohio over the past decade or so. A homer each for Willson Contreras and Ian Happ. Same result as Game 7 in 2016. Pretty much the same weather too. Unfit for man or beast or Josh Tomlin

Yankees 8, Twins 3: Gary Sanchez hit two homers and Aaron Judge and Didi Gregorius each went deep as well, with Sanchez and Gregorius each driving in three. Didi has been having such a fantastic year that, eventually, I’m assuming the people who run the ads at Yankee Stadium will spell his name right:

Mets 6, Cardinals 5: Jay Bruce‘s tenth inning homer gave the Mets a lead they’d hold on to for the win. Yoenis Cespedes hit a homer earlier that I’m pretty sure killed (a) a baseball; and (b) Luke Weaver:

463 feet, my man.

In other news, Matt Harvey entered in the top of the fifth inning of this one for his first relief appearance since his demotion to the pen. It didn’t go great. He gave up a run on back-to-back two-out doubles and left after throwing 35 pitches, only 20 of which were strikes. In still other news, the Cardinals initiated a replay challenge after Bruce’s homer, claiming he missed first base. He didn’t miss first base and it wasn’t even particularly close, so I have no idea what the Cardinals were doing there. La Russa may be gone but part of his essence still lingers, I suppose.

Rockies 8, Padres 0: Eight runs in Colorado — seven of them coming in the first two innings — isn’t news, but seven shutout innings from a starting pitcher is. That’s what Kyle Freeland did for the Rockies, striking out eight and grabbing the win. Trevor Story hit a grand slam. There was a scary moment when Freeland was hit by a comebacker, but he stayed in the game. Rockies manager Bud Black said it may have helped: “It smoothed him out. He didn’t overthrow. His focus might have been more heightened, because he was in a little bit of discomfort.” Sources say that Black plans to kick Freeland square in the beans just before he takes the mound for his next start on Sunday.

Giants 4, Nationals 3: Mac Williamson hit his second big homer in as many nights and once again helped the Giants to a win, with his sixth inning solo shot putting San Francisco up for good. The Giants other three runs came via a Brandon Belt two-run homer and a first inning wild pitch from Tanner Roark. Williamson credited the adrenalin from running into a wall the previous half inning for his homer. In light of that, sources say that Bruce Bochy plans to kick Williamson square in the beans just before his first at bat in his next game this afternoon.

Mariners 1, White Sox 0: Marco Gonzales (6 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 8K) and four M’s relievers combine for a five-hit shutout and Mitch Haniger‘s RBI single in the fourth was all the scoring. Chris Volstad got the start for the White Sox. He did pretty good considering, you know, he isn’t really a starter. The White Sox are off to their worst start in 68 years. I wonder how they’d be doing if they, you know, tried.

Reds 9, Braves 7: Cincy took a 5-0 lead behind some dominant pitching from Tyler Mahle, no-hitting the Braves until the seventh inning, but the Braves finally figured him out and crushed the first couple of relievers who followed him, eventually tying things up with four runs in the ninth. Scooter Gennett put an end to Atlanta’s comeback-win delusions, however, launching a two-run walkoff homer in the 12th. That was Gennett’s second homer of the night and his third and fourth RBI. Freddie Freeman went deep twice for Atlanta, both solo shots.

Diamondbacks 8, Phillies 4: Alex Avila went deep and had three hits and Daniel Descalso and Jarrod Dyson also homered. Dbacks starter Robbie Ray struck out 11 Philly batters but couldn’t escape the fifth inning. I imagine Philly fans either didn’t care or didn’t notice since the Sixers were playing. This is a good time of year for baseball teams in hockey and basketball towns to fly under the radar for a bit.

Blue Jays 4, Red Sox 3: Curtis Granderson threw out the potential go-ahead run at the plate in the top of the ninth inning and then hit a walk-off homer in the 10th — off of Craig Kimbrel no less — to give the Jays the win in the team’s first game since Monday’s deadly terrorist attack killed ten in the city. The Sox lose their third straight game and suffer their first loss to the Jays in Rogers Centre in their last eight meetups.

Athletics 3, Rangers 2: Andrew Triggs allowed only one run over six innings while scattering for hits and punching out six. Mark Canha homered and Jed Lowrie and Matt Olson each doubled in a run to help Oakland to their fourth straight win. Worse news for Texas than the loss was Adrian Beltre straining his left hamstring. No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy, but it’s kind of ridiculous that, 25 games into the season, three of the club’s four Opening Day infielders are hurt and the fourth one is playing left field.

Brewers 5, Royals 2: Lorenzo Cain homered against his old team, but that was just late gravy. Earlier Travis Shaw hit a three-run shot that put the game away in the third inning. Sal Perez made his first appearance of 2018 after coming off the disabled list and hit a solo shot. Zach Davies picked up the win after allowing two over six.

Marlins 3, Dodgers 2: L.A. took a 2-1 lead into the eighth but Starlin Castro doubled in the tying run that inning and Cameron Maybin doubled in the go-ahead run in the ninth. The Fish snap their five-game losing streak.

Rays vs. Orioles; Tigers vs. Pirates — POSTPONED: The 27th and 28th rainouts of the year so far. So it seems appropriate . . .

28 days of rain
Flash floods in February
Back in our boats again
Bath water and the baby
What am I gonna do?
There’s been a lot of drinking
Looking at ghosts of you
While all the world is sinking

10.000 miles into the atmosphere
My body shakes
Is there a welcome here?

Closest thing to heaven
How do you do it?
Closest thing to heaven, heaven