The Reds made a bit of history on Friday night against the Cardinals as they won in their final at-bat for the fourth consecutive game to start the season. They’re the first team to do so since 1912. They are a comfortable 4-0 to start the season. The other four NL Central teams have yet to hit two wins. In fact, the Brewers are winless in their first four games.
Despite Joey Votto’s best effort — he hit a pair of two-run home runs off of John Lackey — the Reds entered the bottom of the eighth tied at 4-4. With one out, Billy Hamilton drew a walk and promptly stole second base for his seventh stolen base of the season in as many tries. With first base open, Votto was intentionally walked. Hamilton then advanced to third base on a wild pitch, and Votto stole second base. Todd Frazier lifted a Jordan Walden offering to right field, bringing Hamilton in from third base for the go-ahead run. Aroldis Chapman took the mound in the top of the ninth and worked around a one-out single to earn his second save of the season.
Elsewhere in baseball: the Red Sox outlasted the Yankees in 19 innings; the Tigers finally yielded their first earned run of the season; Mark Buehrle won his 200th career game; Justin Morneau homered for his 1,500th career hit and his Rockies are a surprising 4-0 to start the season.
Your Friday box scores:
Blue Jays 12, Orioles 5
Cubs 1, Rockies 5
Astros 5, Rangers 1
Nationals 1, Phillies 4
Twins 6, White Sox 0
Cardinals 4, Reds 5
Tigers 8, Indians 4
Mets 3, Braves 5
Red Sox 6, Yankees 5 (19 innings)
Pirates 6, Brewers 2
Royals 4, Angels 2
Dodgers 3, Diamondbacks 4 (10 innings)
Mariners 0, Athletics 12
Giants 0, Padres 1
Rays 9, Marlins 10 (10 innings)
Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.
The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.
The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.
In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.