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Royals hang on to beat the Mets in 2016 season opener

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The Royals had a pretty firm grasp on the 2016 season opener against the Mets, a rematch of the 2015 World Series. Starter Edinson Volquez pitched six shutout innings while Lorenzo Cain reached base three times and Eric Hosmer logged three hits, helping the Royals ascend to a 4-0 lead.

It was looking like a comfortable win, but the Mets struck for three runs in the top of the eighth to nearly erase their four-run deficit. With the bases loaded and one out against reliever Joakim Soria, Lucas Duda slapped a two-run single to the opposite field, also opening up the opportunity for Yoenis Cespedes to advance to third base. Neil Walker brought him home on a ground out, but that was as far as the Mets got.

Closer Wade Davis came in, but found himself in immediate trouble. He issued a leadoff walk to Travis d'Arnaud and a one-out single to Curtis Granderson, putting runners at first and third. Davis bounced back, striking out David Wright looking, then getting Cespedes to strike out on an outside fastball.

Mets starter Matt Harvey, who had a health scare last week, pitched better than his line score indicates. He gave up four runs (three earned) on eight hits and two walks with two strikeouts. He was hurt in the first inning when Cespedes dropped a routine fly ball and d’Arnaud couldn’t handle a fastball, allowing runner advancement.

The 2015 World Series rematch will continue on Tuesday afternoon, the final game of the two-game set. Noah Syndergaard will toe the slab for the Mets while Chris Young starts for the Royals. There has been some hubbub surrounding Syndergaard over a report that indicated the Royals would seek revenge for an up-and-in pitch he threw to Alcides Escobar in Game 3 of the World Series. The Royals, however, shot down that report and Syndergaard doesn’t think he did anything worthy of revenge.

Thus concludes an exciting day of baseball on Opening Day. If you missed the other action, Francisco Liriano pitched the Pirates past the Cardinals with 10 strikeouts, and the Blue Jays’ Marcus Stroman killed the Rays with ground balls. The rest of the league opens up the season on Monday.

Marlins sign Brandon Kintzler to one-year, $3.25 million deal

Brandon Kintzler
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Jon Morosi reported on Saturday that the Marlins signed veteran reliever Brandon Kintzler to a one-year contract worth $3.25 million. The deal includes a club option for 2020 worth $4 million with a $250,000 buyout, according to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers.

Kintzler, 35, put up a terrific 2.68 ERA with 48 strikeouts and 13 walks over 57 innings for the Cubs last season. He’s been mostly good in recent years, but relievers in their mid-30’s have had a tough time finding multi-year deals.

The Marlins have a handful of players who could rack up saves this coming season, namely Drew Steckenrider and José Ureña along with Kintzler. The club will likely use spring training to determine an official closer, if they name one at all. The Marlins have also expressed interest in free agent Pedro Strop.