Friday, April 8, 2016

Infante's sac fly lifts Royals over Twins

Royals catcher Salvador Perez drove in the tying run with his eighth career triple, and Omar Infante delivered the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in a two-run eighth as the Royals rallied past the Twins 4-3 on Friday night, sending the winless Twins to their fourth straight loss.
Royals starter Yordano Ventura lasted just five innings and battled command all night. Ventura gave up just two hits, but walked six while striking out six. Ventura left with a 2-1 lead but with runners on first and second and none out in the sixth.
Reliever Luke Hochevar got the next two hitters, but then surrendered an RBI single toEduardo Escobar, tying the score 2-2.
Twins starter Ervin Santana, a former Royal, was somewhat more efficient. He went six innings and gave up six hits and two walks, while striking out seven. He left with the score tied 2-2.
Reymond Fuentes gave the Royals a 2-1 lead in the second with a two-run single to right.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Bottom of the order comes through: Alex Gordon led off the Royals' eighth with a sharp single to right off Twins reliever Kevin Jepsen. Perez then hit a sinking liner toward the left-center gap that left fielder Eddie Rosario dived for, but missed. The ball rolled to the wall and Perez made it all the way to third as the score was tied 3-3. Then Infante delivered a sacrifice fly to medium deep left-center, giving the Royals the lead.
Byung Ho Parked: Park picked a good time for his first career homer in the Majors, as he crushed a solo blast in the eighth off Joakim Soria to give the Twins a one-run lead. Park, who hit a combined 105 homers over the last two years in Korea, got all of it, as it left the bat at 111 mph and traveled 433 feet, per Statcast™, despite hitting it into the wind.
First hit a big one: Fuentes, 0-for-6 coming into the game, delivered a clutch two-out, two-run single in the second that gave the Royals a 2-1 lead It was Fuentes' first hit as a Royal and his first hit in the big leagues since Sept. 28 of 2013, when he was with the Padres. After Perez singled and Infante doubled with two out in the second, Fuentes attacked the first pitch he saw from Santana and pulled a liner into right field.
Escobar ties it: Eduardo Escobar has been Minnesota's hottest hitter early this season, and came through with a two-out RBI single in the seventh to tie the game. Escobar also drew a walk in the second and came around to score on a double from Kurt Suzuki.
WHAT'S NEXT
Twins: Left-hander Tommy Milone, who won the job as the club's fourth starter during Spring Training, is set to make his season debut on Saturday against the Royals. Milone was slated to start Friday, but was pushed back a day after Ervin Santana was moved up two days because he threw two innings on Opening Day because of a rain delay.
Royals: Right-hander Ian Kennedy, signed as a free-agent this offseason, makes his first start for the Royals in a 6:15 p.m. CT start. Kennedy was supposed to start last Tuesday but tweaked his hamstring during his last Spring Training start..

Slide rule ends game amid rally as Brewers win

Ryan Braun and Chris Carter each hit two-run home runs and Chase Anderson won his Brewers debut in Milwaukee's tense, 6-4 victory over Houston on Friday at Miller Park.
For the second time this week, a game ended on the so-called "Chase Utley rule." Entering the top of the ninth down six, the Astros scored four runs and had runners at first and second with one out when Jose Altuve hit a grounder to second base. Colby Rasmus slid into Brewers shortstop Jonathan Villar on the force play, and second base umpire Dan Bellino immediately signalled for a double play, ending the game.
Scooter Gennett and Carter each went deep against Astros starter Scott Feldman in the Brewers' three-run first inning, and Domingo Santana added an RBI double in the second to stake Anderson to a quick 4-0 lead. The right-hander, acquired in a January trade with the D-backs, scattered four hits and struck out five batters without a walk in five scoreless innings before Brewers manager Craig Counsell made an early call to his well-stocked bullpen after 85 Anderson pitches.
Feldman was charged with four earned runs on five hits in four innings in the loss. He yielded to the Major League debut of reliever Chris Devenski, who surrendered only one hit and did not walk a batter while striking out four in three scoreless innings.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Gomey being Gomey: Anderson pitched with a runner on base in four of his five innings including the fourth, when Gomez lined a two-out double. Each time, Anderson escaped, getting some help from Gomez in that fourth inning when the animated outfielder was picked off second base. The scoring on the play went 1-5-4-1-5-6-7, with Brewers left fielder Braun finally applying the tag.
White sets record: Astros rookie first baseman Tyler White just keeps on hitting. White doubled and had an infield single in his first two at-bats on Friday, breaking Ken Caminiti's club record for most hits in an Astro's first four career games, set in 1987. White went 3-for-4 and is 9-for-13 for the season, officially setting the record at nine hits.
Big flies: Gennett took the team lead for homers when he swatted his second dinger of the season in the first inning, but he soon had company atop the Brewers' leaderboard. Carter followed three batters later with his second homer, a two-run shot that would have counted for more had Braun not been thrown out trying to steal third base moments earlier. Carter leads the Brewers with five RBIs in the early going.
Astros starters struggling: Since reigning Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel beat the Yankees on Opening Day, Astros starting pitchers have struggled. Collin McHughMike Fiers and Scott Feldman have gone a combined 9 1/3 innings and allowed 14 earned runs and 17 hits, with none of them pitching past the fifth inning.
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Gennett isn't just hitting home runs, he's walking at a rate well above his career norm. His walk in the eighth inning gave Gennett four walks in as many games this season, matching his total from his first 34 games in 2015, when he didn't draw free pass No. 4 until June 24.
WHAT'S NEXT
Astros: Veteran right-hander Doug Fister will be making his first start for the Astros when they face the Brewers at 6:10 p.m. CT Saturday at Miller Park. He spent the last two seasons with the Nationals and has posted a 3.42 ERA over the past five seasons with Washington, Detroit and Seattle.
Brewers: After a shaky performance on Opening Day, Wily Peralta said he was eager for a more routine workday on Saturday, when he faces old friend Carlos Gomez and the Astros. Peralta was charged with five runs (four earned) on six hits in four innings against the Giants on Opening Day, but he said he has not felt this strong on the mound in a year and a half.

Marte's grand slam lifts Bucs over Reds

The Pirates loaded the bases in the fifth and seventh innings Friday night and came up empty-handed both times. Starling Marte assured that wouldn't be the case in the eighth inning, launching his first career grand slam to left field and sending the Pirates to a 6-5 win over the Reds at Great American Ball Park.
Pittsburgh entered the eighth inning 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position. The Bucs had stranded 11 runners and made enough mistakes on defense to let the Reds to build up a three-run lead. Then Ross Ohlendorf hit John Jaso with a pitch and walked Andrew McCutchenDavid Freese loaded the bases with an infield single.
That brought up Marte, who crushed a 1-0 slider from J.J. Hoover, who replaced Ohlendorf, into the left-field stands. It was Marte's first grand slam and the Bucs' first home run of the season; they entered the night as one of only three Major League teams without a homer.
While handing the Reds their first loss of the season, the Pirates moved to 4-0 for the first time since the start of the 2003 season.
Brandon Phillips helped give Cincinnati a lead, homering and driving in two runs in his return to the lineup after missing two games with a stomach virus. Phillips returned to the cleanup spot Friday night and immediately greeted Pirates starter Francisco Liriano with a solo home run on the first pitch he saw. Phillips drove in another run in the third inning on a sacrifice fly to center field. Battling his command and frequently working out of trouble, Liriano allowed three runs on five hits and four walks over five innings.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Frankie at the bat: After falling behind 2-0 in the first inning, Liriano immediately cut the Pirates' deficit in half. Jordy Mercer singled with two outs and scored on Liriano's ground ball double down the right-field line. Liriano padded his hitting stats in the fourth with an opposite-field single. The lefty is 12-for-34 with three doubles, a homer and nine RBIs over his last 15 starts.
Zack on the spot: The Pirates had cut the Reds' lead to 3-2 in the fifth inning and had runners on first and second with one out when Josh Harrison hit a sharp grounder toEugenio Suarez at third base. Suarez booted it for his second error of the inning but Zack Cozart retrieved the carom and was able to catch Marte, who had rounded third too far off the bag, in time to tag him for the final out of the inning.

Diaz's pinch-hit HR blasts Cards over Braves

Aledmys Diaz notched one of an MLB-record three pinch-hit home runs the Cardinals produced en route to Friday's night's 7-4 win over the Braves, who remain winless despite holding a lead in the seventh inning or later in each of their first three games.
The Cardinals were staring at the possibility of opening the season with four straight losses when the Braves tallied four third-inning runs off Jaime Garcia. But Garcia found a groove over his final three frames and St. Louis began its comeback during a three-run fourth against Matt Wisler, whose 6 2/3-inning effort was tarnished by Jeremy Hazelbaker's game-tying pinch-hit dinger in the seventh.
Diaz's eighth-inning solo shot off lefty Eric O'Flaherty accounted for his first career dinger. The Braves had gained a comfortable early lead courtesy of three consecutive two-out RBI singles by Nick MarkakisHector Olivera and Tyler Flowers off Garcia.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
K-Oh: Cardinals reliever Seung Hwan Oh, making his third big league apperance, notched his sixth -- and biggest -- strikeout yet this season by getting cleanup hitter Adonis Garcia to swing through three sliders with one out and the potential go-ahead run on third in the seventh. Oh then handed the ball to Kevin Siegrist, who stranded the pair of runners by inducing an inning-ending forceout. It was the first of three scoreless innings by the Cardinals' bullpen.
Bullpen moves: When Hazelbaker was announced as a pinch-hitter in the seventh, the Braves had the option to force the Cardinals' hand by bringing their only left-handed reliever -- O'Flaherty -- out of the bullpen. Instead, they brought O'Flaherty out to begin the eighth, which gave the Cardinals a chance to replace the left-handed-hitting Matt Adams with Diaz.
Hazelbaker stays hot: Since winning a roster spot on the final day of camp, Hazelbaker has emerged as the Cardinals' biggest offensive weapon. He hit his second long ball of the season on Friday, this one a game-tying solo shot while pinch-hitting for Garcia in the seventh. Hazelbaker joined Joe Cunningham (1954) as the only Cardinals with two home runs in their first four career games.
Unfazed by misfortune: Before making a mistake on the fastball Hazelbaker drilled over the right-center field wall, Wisler had retired eight straight batters after encountering some bad luck during the Cardinals' three-run fourth inning. The Braves' right-hander might have exited the inning unscathed had left fielder Olivera not initially broken back on a Matt Adams single that fell in shallow left field. Still, despite surrendering four rather soft hits during the frame, he quickly righted himself and showed the maturity he has gained since last year's rookie campaign.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Cardinals lost their challenge in the seventh inning after the umpires reviewed a play at second base. Matt Carpenter had been called out trying to stretch a single into a two-base hit. The call stood following a one-minute, 40-second review.
The umpires utilized a crew chief review in the eighth to take a second look at a pickoff ofKolten Wong to end the inning. Replay confirmed the ruling on the field.
WHAT'S NEXT
Cardinals: Right-hander Carlos Martinez will make his season debut on Saturday, when the Cardinals continue their series in Atlanta. First pitch at Turner Field is scheduled for 6:10 p.m. CT. Martinez dazzled this spring, striking out 16 batters over 15 ⅔ Grapefruit League innings.
Braves: Julio Teheran will make his second start of the season when Atlanta resumes its three-game series against St. Louis at 7:10 p.m. ET. Teheran did not get a decision after limiting the Nationals to two solo homers over six innings on Opening Day.

Holt's slam helps power Sox past Blue Jays

The Red Sox rallied from five runs down to steal a victory away from the Blue Jays and score an early advantage in the battle for the American League East title with a 8-7 win Friday on Opening Night at Rogers Centre.
Left fielder Brock Holt led the way with a grand slam in the top of the sixth inning that pulled the Red Sox within one. David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez later added a pair of RBI singles in the seventh inning to cap the comeback and give Toronto's bullpen its third blown save in as many games.
Xander Bogaerts went 3-for-4 with a double and three runs scored while Ortiz added a double and a pair of RBIs. Right-hander Matt Barnes picked up the victory after he tossed a scoreless inning of relief and starter Joe Kelly took a no-decision following an outing in which he surrendered seven runs in three-plus frames.
Josh Donaldson also hit a grand slam that initially gave the Blue Jays a 7-2 lead in the fourth inning. Donaldson's second career slam was his third homer of the season as he continues to play through a strained right calf muscle.
Toronto starter Marcus Stroman received a no-decision after he was charged with five runs on six hits over 5 1/3 innings. He left in the sixth with the bases loaded and then could only watch as reliever Jesse Chavez served up the slam to Holt that let the Red Sox back into the game.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The MVP: Donaldson received his American League MVP Award prior to the game and then in the fourth reminded everybody why he was the top choice. Donaldson drilled the first pitch he saw from Kelly over the wall in left for the second grand slam of his career. Toronto scored six runs in the inning to chase Kelly from the game, which included four consecutive singles and a hit batter prior to Donaldson's first slam since June 7, 2013.
Holt answers: Holt will probably never be known as a home-run hitter. But he's shown some early power this year. His first career slam gave him two homers in his first 11 at-bats of the season. Coming into 2016, Holt had six homers in 1,027 at-bats. His five RBIs were a career high.
Starting early: Kevin Pillar set the tone with a leadoff triple to the gap in right-center field. Pillar later came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Edwin Encarnacion as Toronto took an early 1-0 lead. The Blue Jays had just one triple out of the leadoff spot last season, which came courtesy of Ben Revere on Sept. 25, but they only had to wait one home game for the first this year. It was the third triple of Pillar's career.
Kelly's night desolved quickly: After giving up one run in a 26-pitch first inning, Kelly kept the Jays off the board in the second and third. But it all fell apart in the fourth when he gave up four straight hits and then hit Pillar in the helmet to force in a run. Then came the big blow -- Donaldson's grand slam. At that point, with still none out in the fourth, Kelly was lifted by manager John Farrell.
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The last time the Red Sox had a grand slam in the same game as their opponent was June 26, 2001, against the Rays. In that game, Greg Vaughn hit a slam for Tampa Bay, while Trot Nixon belted one for Boston.
In 2015, the largest deficit the Red Sox overcame en route to a victory was four runs. It took them just three games to top that this year, coming back from a 7-2 hole on Friday. This is the first time since 1995 the Red Sox have scored six runs or more in their first three games.
The Blue Jays have now lost each of their last five home openers, which is a franchise record. Toronto is 26-14 all-time in home openers, including 16-11 at Rogers Centre.
WHAT'S NEXT
Red Sox: Righty Rick Porcello will make his season debut on Saturday against the Blue Jays at 1:07 p.m. ET in hopes of displaying more consistency than he did in his first season in Boston. The sinkerballer didn't pitch well in Spring Training, posting a 9.77 ERA in four starts and giving up 29 hits in 15 2/3 innings. Opponents hit .408 against him.
Blue Jays: Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey will take the mound on Saturday at 1:07 p.m. ET in the middle game against the Red Sox. Dickey is 6-6 with a 4.23 ERA in 22 career appearances vs. Boston. In his last outing, Dickey allowed three runs over five innings against Tampa Bay.

Four homers off Archer lead O's over Rays

Backed by four solo home runs, the Orioles (4-0) ran their season-opening winning streak to four with Friday's 6-1 win over the Rays (2-3).
Baltimore got on the board with Chris Davis' solo shot in the second inning off Rays starterChris Archer. Archer gave up a blast in the fifth to Jonathan Schoop, and two outs later,Nolan Reimold and Manny Machado went deep back-to-back. Matt Wieters also drove in a pair of runs off Archer, who lasted five innings.
Orioles starter Chris Tillman, who surrendered a solo blast to Evan Longoria in the first inning, held Tampa Bay to just one run over his five innings.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Here comes the homers: An Orioles lineup touted this spring for its power is starting to deliver. Davis went yard for the second time in four games, while the fifth-inning fireworks from Schoop, Reimold and Machado -- who has also hit two this season -- showcased how deep Baltimore's lineup truly is.
Archer's streak continues: Archer allowed six runs on 10 hits, two walks and a wild pitch while striking out five. In taking his second loss of the season, he saw his winless streak roll to a career-long eight games and his ERA swell to 7.20. He has not recorded a win since Aug. 31, when he picked up his 12th and final win of 2015 after pitching six scoreless innings against the Orioles in Baltimore.
What a relief: An O's bullpen that has been relied on heavily this season, mostly due to rain delays, again did the job on Friday. The relievers picked up four innings and were led by left-hander T.J. McFarland's three scoreless frames.
Longoria likes Tillman: Longoria homered for the first time this season against Tillman in the first. The Orioles right-hander is a Longoria favorite. He's now homered seven times against Tillman, making him Longoria's most frequent home run victim. CC Sabathia is second, having surrendered six home runs to Longoria.
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The Orioles are one win shy of matching their best start to the season (5-0), which last happened in 1970.
WHAT'S NEXT
Rays: Drew Smyly will try to get the Rays back on track Saturday at 7:05 p.m. ET when he makes his second start of the season. The left-hander allowed three home runs against the Blue Jays on Monday night. He has never lost in eight career appearances against the Orioles.
Orioles: Mike Wright will make his season debut on Saturday night. The righty, on his first Opening Day roster, will face Smyly for the 7:05 p.m. game at Camden Yards.

Padres break out, spoil Story's show at Coors

While Rockies rookie Trevor Story was busy making home run history, the Padres were happy to put a streak of futility behind them. San Diego ended a 30-inning scoreless streak to start the season with a six-run fourth inning en route to its first victory, 13-6, in the Rockies' home opener at a sold-out Coors Field.
"As soon as the first run scored, I think everybody relaxed," said Padres skipper Andy Green, who picked up his first win as a big league manager. "You saw a lot of missiles hit after that. These guys can hit. They've been good baseball players for a long time. It was just one of those things that you can't explain in baseball."
Story tied a Major League record by homering in his fourth game to start a season, with a two-run shot off Padres starter Colin Rea in the bottom of the fourth.
Story added his sixth homer off Ryan Buchter in the bottom of the ninth, becoming the first player in MLB history to tally six home runs in his first four games.
Even in defeat, Rockies manager Walt Weiss could marvel.
"I've never seen anything like it, let alone a rookie," Weiss said of Story. "It was fun to watch, one of the few bright spots today."
Matt Kemp blasted a three-run homer in the fifth and Melvin Upton Jr. went deep for two in the sixth, both off reliever Justin Miller, for an 11-5 lead.
It was a festive occasion for most, but not for starting pitchers. Rea gave up five runs on six hits and four walks, and lasted just 3 1/3 innings, with Story's homer being his goodbye delivery -- yet he wasn't the losing pitcher. That's because Rockies righty Jordan Lyles gave up five runs on seven hits and three walks in 3 1/3 frames.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Rally starter: Call Upton a trend-setter. With one out in the top of the fourth inning, Upton scored the Padres' first run on an RBI single by Jon Jay. The next five men in the order all followed suit. Cory Spangenberg knocked in two with a triple and came around to score on Kemp's single. Yangervis Solarte would later cap the rally with a two-run double, scoring Kemp and Wil MyersMore >
His-Story: Story tied Willie Mays (1971), current Padres hitting coach Mark McGwire (1998),Nelson Cruz (2011) and Chris Davis ('13) in homering in the first four games of a season. The two homers he hit in his Major League debut and the homers in four games to begin his career also are records. More >
"I like to bring good energy to the team," Story said. "Walt said I was a bright spot [Friday], and I guess that's good, but the ultimate goal is to win and we didn't do that today."
Not making him pay: Rea languished through 32 pitches and three walks in the first inning, but escaped with no runs. He enticed Gerardo Parra to swing through a high, 89-mph cutter, and fanned Mark Reynolds on a 2-2, 96-mph fastball. The pitch count continued to climb, which led to Rea's exit, but keeping the Rockies from scoring then turned out big.
Relievin' Robbie: The Padres recalled left-hander Robbie Erlin before Friday's game, and they wasted no time getting him into the action. Erlin entered in a one-run game in the bottom of the fourth and promptly tossed 3 2/3 shutout frames, allowing only one hit to earn the win.
"He's somebody we trust, somebody we believe in," Green said of Erlin. "Obviously bringing him into a game that's that close and letting him pitch crucial innings, we clearly believe in him. [His return to the Majors] came quick and we're happy to have him here."
QUOTABLE
"Offensively we finally broke the seal and started scoring a whole bunch of runs. Now we're averaging almost four runs a game -- so there's not much to talk about." -- Green, on the offensive breakout
"Today's loss is on my shoulders, definitely. There's no way around it. Trevor puts too more in the seats and we can't talk about that as much as we should. That's my fault." -- Lyles
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The Rockies' attendance of 49,360 was a sellout. The 50,977 tickets distributed represents a Coors Field regular-season record.
WHAT'S NEXT
Padres: Drew Pomeranz makes his Padres debut, perhaps fittingly against his former club, the Rockies, with first pitch at 5:10 p.m. PT. Pomeranz hasn't returned to Colorado since he spent his first three big league seasons here. He won a rotation spot out of camp after spending the past two seasons primarily as a reliever in Oakland.
Rockies: Lefty Jorge De La Rosa struggled with control and nearly lost a big lead to the D-backs on Opening Day, but the bullpen and the slugging offense saved him from a loss. He'll try to do better on Saturday at 6:10 p.m. MT.