Pirates outfielder Starling Marte saved a run for starter Gerrit Cole, venturing back to the wall in left field and bringing a Brandon Crawford fly ball back from beyond the fence in the second inning on Saturday afternoon at PNC Park. Cole had thrown an 0-1, 95 MPH fastball, which Crawford drove to the opposite field.
It proved to be a crucial play as the two teams would carry a 1-1 tie into the seventh inning. Jung Ho Kang provided the Pirates’ first run with a solo homer, and broke the 1-1 tie in the bottom of the seventh with another solo blast. Marte would win it in the bottom of the ninth with a walk-off solo home run off of George Kontos.
Watch Marte’s nice snag:
Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez put his team up 5-1 with a seventh-inning grand slam against Giants reliever George Kontos. The slam was Rodriguez’s 24th of his career, overtaking Yankees great Lou Gehrig’s Major League record. David Robertson and Mariano Rivera teamed up to keep the Giants off the board in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively.
Watch the record-setting slam:
The slam was also Rodriguez’s 654th career home run, leaving him six shy of Willie Mays in fourth place on the all-time leaderboard. Rodriguez’s previous grand slam, which tied Gehrig’s mark, came on June 12 last year against Braves reliever Jonny Venters.
Including tonight’s action, Rodriguez now has a .261/.364/.458 line, certainly much better than many expected given his age, health, and off-the-field drama.
MLB is warming up for the coming Dodgers-Diamondbacks suspensions: just now it suspended Giants pitcher George Kontos and manager Bruce Bochy. Kontos gets a three-game suspension, Bochy a one-gamer. Bochy will serve his tonight. Kontos, who was just optioned to the minors, will serve his if and when he gets called back up.
The suspensions are the result of Kontos intentionally throwing a pitch at Andrew McCutchen in the bottom of the eighth inning of Tuesday’s game. A warning had already been issued but went unheeded.
Now, crack open the book for Ian Kennedy and friends …
Clayton Kershaw didn’t just dominate the Giants on the mound in today’s season opener. He also made some unexpected noise with his bat.
In a masterful performance, Kershaw tossed his sixth career shutout in a 4-0 win over the defending World Series champions. The 25-year-old southpaw held the Giants to just four measly singles while fanning seven and walking just one. He needed just 94 pitches to get the job done.
The Dodgers couldn’t get anything going against Matt Cain, so their ace ultimately had to take matters into his own hands. The game remained scoreless until Kershaw led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a solo home run to straight-away center field off George Kontos. Pretty good timing for the first home run of his major league career. In fact, it was also just his second extra-base hit in the big leagues. It was truly a surreal moment at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers tacked on three more runs in the frame before Kershaw finished off the Giants in the top of the ninth.
Kershaw is the first pitcher to homer on Opening Day since Joe Magrane in 1988 and the first Dodger to do it since Don Drysdale in 1965. He’s also the first pitcher to throw a shutout and hit a home run on Opening Day since Bob Lemon did it for the Indians back in 1953. Today’s performance was pretty much Kershaw’s way of asking, “Can I have my $200 million now, please?”
Here’s the video of Kershaw’s home run: