Tampa Bay Rays

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Archer outduels Tanaka, Rays top Yankees in MLB opener

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Pitch by pitch, Chris Archer set the tone for what he and the Tampa Bay Rays hope will be a bounce-back year.

Not such a good start for Masahiro Tanaka and the New York Yankees.

Archer pitched seven solid innings, and the Rays roughed up Tanaka on the way to beating New York 7-3 in the first game of the new Major League Baseball season Sunday.

“We didn’t play perfect, but we played well enough to win,” Archer said. “We scored a lot of runs and made some nice defensive plays. It’s all about winning, and we did that.”

And what the Rays didn’t do a lot of last season, when they sank to the bottom of the AL East with their worst finish (68-94) since 2007.

New York lost on opening day for the sixth consecutive year, with Tanaka matching the shortest start ever by a Yankees pitcher in an opener.

“It happens. He’s human,” Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild said. “He just didn’t command anything. … He usually self corrects real well. But today, he tried a few things and it just didn’t work.”

Evan Longoria and Logan Morrison homered and drove in three runs apiece before a sellout crowd of 31,042 at Tropicana Field. Tanaka, who had baseball’s lowest ERA in spring training, was tagged for a career-worst seven earned runs in 2 2/3 innings.

A first-time All-Star in 2015 who lost an AL-leading 19 times last season, Archer (1-0) limited New York to two runs and seven hits. He narrowly escaped a bases-loaded jam in the seventh to turn a five-run lead over to a revamped bullpen.

Rays manager Kevin Cash said it was important to give his ace an opportunity to get through the seventh.

“I’m really happy he did, not only for my sake but the other guys on the staff, too,” Archer said. ” I want them to know when stuff gets hairy, you need to strap it on and go right after them. We don’t need to be bailed out, we need to get out of the inning.”

There were three games around in the majors on the first day, and the Rays got off to a quick start.

Leadoff man Corey Dickerson singled in the Tampa Bay first for the first hit of the season and later scored on Longoria’s sacrifice fly as part of a three-run inning. Longoria connected for a two-run drive in the second.

Aaron Judge had a RBI double, while Starlin Castro and Chase Headley each had three hits for the Yankees.

Tanaka (0-1) made his third consecutive opening day start for the Yankees, and had been 6-0 with a 2.82 ERA in eight career starts against Tampa Bay. He gave up eight hits and two walks.

Longoria connected for his fourth homer on opening day. Morrison, who didn’t drive in a run until May 17 last season, added a solo drive in the third.

“Obviously, you just have to accept it. I can’t take it back,” Tanaka said through a translator. “So, the main thing is, I really need to move forward from today. Make the necessary adjustments.”

UNCHARACTERISTIC

Tanaka, who tied Hideo Nomo for the most opening day starts by a Japanese-born pitcher, had a seven-game winning streak stopped. He went 7-0 with a 2.28 ERA over his final nine starts of last season. … Tanaka had won all three of his previous career starts at Tropicana Field, limiting the Rays to four earned runs in 20 innings for a 1.80 ERA. He led the AL with a 2.36 road ERA in 2016, trailing only the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard (2.29) for the major league lead.

It was the second-shortest start of Tanka’s career. He tied the Yankees shortest on opening day, joining Ron Guidry (1983) and Mel Stottlemyre (1973).

LEADING OFF

Dickerson, who hit 24 home runs last year, was 1 for 5 in his debut as Tampa Bay’s leadoff hitter against right-handed pitching. Cash is considering moving right-handed batting Steven Souza Jr. to the top of the order against left-handers, beginning Tuesday against CC Sabathia.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Yankees: SS Didi Gregorius (right shoulder strain) expects to start limited baseball activities the middle of this week. He is out until some time in May. … INF-OF Tyler Austin (broken left ankle) was placed on the 60-day disabled list.

Rays: Longoria, who sat out Tampa Bay’s final spring training game due to a stiff neck, made his club-record ninth consecutive start on opening day. … Seven players, including C Wilson Ramos, OF Colby Rasmus and SS Matt Duffy, begin the season on the disabled list.

UP NEXT

Yankees: LHP CC Sabathia, 3-7 in 14 starts at Tropicana Field since joining New York in 2009, is Tuesday night’s scheduled starter. He’s 2-0 against the Rays in three road starts over the last two seasons.

Rays: RHP Jake Odorizzi is set to work the second game of the series, which resumes after a day off. He went 7-1 with a 2.71 ERA in 14 outings after the All-Star break last year. He was the only Tampa Bay starter with a winning record, at 10-6, in 2016.

Video: Manny Machado becomes youngest player in Orioles history to reach 100 doubles

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Manny Machado dropped this Drew Smyly pitch into right field Tuesday for his 100th career double

As stated in the headline, Machado is the youngster player in the 115-year history of the Orioles franchise to reach 100 doubles (at 23 years and 57 days old). And he did it on the night the O’s are celebrating the 20th anniversary of Cal Ripken breaking Lou Gehrig’s record for consecutive games played.

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Cardinals 8, Nationals 5: The Cards mounted a five-run rally in the seventh that had the Nationals fans in my Twitter timeline saying unspeakable things about Matt Williams, the Nationals and, in some cases, the very dilemma of human existence. Really, they started to get kinda deep about the philosophic abyss that confronts us all. I almost felt bad for them but then I remembered that they’re Nationals fans, so who gives a rip? OK, that’s not fair. Even Nats fans don’t deserve Matt Williams. Which perhaps might hurt Matt Williams’ feelings to hear, but given that he’s peacefully dozing in the dugout, he’s really not hearing it at all. Shhh! Don’t tell him to bring in Drew Storen during the rally! It’s only the seventh inning! Williams’ little analog alarm clock with Goofy’s arms as the hands doesn’t start ringing for Storen until the eighth!

Dodgers 5, Giants 4: Adrian Gonzalez hit a bases loaded single in the 14th inning to walk it off. It was a long game. How long? It started in August and ended in September! Wow! In other news, the Giants really can’t be losing head-to-head games with the Dodgers if they wanna make the playoffs. It’s now a four and a half game lead for L.A.

Red Sox 4, Yankees 3: Old: David Ortiz hits career homer 495. Young: Mookie Betts homered and Jackie Bradley Jr. had three hits and scored twice. He’s been up and down and people have been expecting a lot from him for more than a couple of years now, but in 43 big league games this year Bradley is hitting .277/.358/.555 with outstanding outfield defense.

Rays 6, Orioles 3: Six shutout innings aided by an amazing grab by Kevin Kiermaier to rob Manny Machado of a homer.

Baltimore has lost 11 of 12. Asdrubal Cabrera, Evan Longoria and Tim Beckham homered for Tampa Bay.

Indians 4, Blue Jays 2: Danny Salazar struck out ten and Jerry Sands singled home the go-ahead run in the seventh. Sands’ failure to pan out as a prospect over the past couple of years has obscured the fact that he is the best 1950s-60s-era Vegas comedian to ever play Major League Baseball. And it’s all the more impressive given that he wears a sequined tuxedo jacket and a ruffled shirt when he plays in the outfield.

Marlins 4, Braves 0: It was obvious that the Braves were going to lose here given that they traded away their clubhouse leader Jonny Gomes last night. You laugh, but when the Royals win the World Series and some baseball writer credits Gomes’, like, 11 ineffective plate appearances but his excellent top-step-of-the-dugout fist-pumping for “providing the leadership they lacked in 2014,” try not to injure yourself as you violently roll your eyes into your head. In other news, stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Shelby Miller pitched well, allowing one run on six hits and no walks over seven innings yet failed to win for the 19th straight outing because the Braves provided him zero in the form of run support. He has a 2.56 ERA on the year and a 5-12 record.

Mets 3, Phillies 1: Eight shutout innings for Bartolo Colon. Which, to be fair to the Phillies, is understandable as Colon was wearing camouflage:

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Given his stealthy appearance, to Phillies batters it had to look like the ball was floating in mid air and suddenly hurled in their direction as if propelled by an otherworldly spirit.

Reds 13, Cubs 6: Adam Duvall and Eugenio Suarez hit two-run homers in a four-run sixth inning. Those four runs all came against Justin Grimm. Who actually came in with a lead and gave up those four runs in one third of an inning. If only there was a word to describe Grimm’s performance. Bleak? Ghastly? Gruesome? Give me a few minutes, I’ll think of one.

Astros 8, Mariners 3: Dallas Keuchel got his 16th win and Carlos Correa hit his 16th homer.

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Rockies 5, Diamondbacks 4: No one cares about this game at this point of the season so let’s watch Brandon Barnes eat dirt.

Athletics 11, Angels 5: The Angels got slaughtered, the details of which you can read in the box score. The important part here is that Shane Victorino broke the Oakland Coliseum when he ran into the dang wall:

 

The A’s really need to find the receipt for that place.

Padres 7, Rangers 0: Tyson Ross tossed seven shutout innings and had an RBI single to [all together now] help his own cause. Texas’ lead in the race for the second wild card slot is down to one game over the Twins.