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.)