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LAst Night's Action: Pirates Outpower Dodgers

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Pittsburgh Pirates (1-0) defeat LA Dodgers (0-1) 11-5. Vicente Padilla’s and George Sherrill’s bad spring extended into the first game of the regular season as the Dodgers were shelled by the Pirates in a sunny Pittsburgh. Pirate’s right fielder Garrett Jones feasted on Padilla hitting two homers in his first two at-bats: the first with Akinori Iwamura on first in the first inning that landed in the Allegheny River to tie the game at 2-2, and a solo shot in the third inning to give the Pirates the 3-2 lead. Padilla’s command was also shaky hitting two batters - his first two as a Dodger. The second batter he hit, Andrew McCutchen leading off the bottom of the fifth, ended up starting a five-run rally that gave the Pirates an 8-2 lead putting the game away for the Dodgers. The Dodgers would touch up Pirate’s reliever DJ Carrasco with three, but Sherrill imploded in the eighth giving up an Earl Weaver to Ryan Doumit to seal the deal for the Bucs. Both Manny Ramirez and Matt Kemp went 2-for-5 with two RBI each while Dodgers newbies Carlos Monasterios and Russ Ortiz both pitched an inning each of shutout ball.

Vicente Padilla (L, 0-1): 4 1/3 innings, 7 earned runs, 6 hits, 2 strikeouts, 3 walks (1 intentional), 2 homers, 2 hit batters.

Zach Duke (W, 1-0): 5 innings, 2 earned runs, 7 hits, 1 strikeout, 1 walk.

LA Angels (1-0) defeat Minnesota Twins (0-1) 6-3. Hideki Matsui and Kendry Morales hit back-to-back homers in the eighth inning to seal the win for the Angels. Starter Jered Weaver pitched a strong six innings giving up only two runs in a troublesome second inning. Former AL MVP Justin Morneau opened the inning with a single and was brought home when former number one overall draft pick Delmon Young crushed a homer to left field to tie the game up 2-2. But the Angels came out with their usual mode of playing with Erick Aybar and Torii Hunter working walks against Twins starter Scott Baker. Morales brought Aybar home with a single, and Juan Rivera did the same for Hunter with his own single. After the Twins had tied things up, catcher Jeff Mathis added the power with a solo shot to respond right away in the bottom of the second. Aybar scored a second run in the fifth inning when Hideki Matsui hit him home with a single giving the Angels a 4-2 lead.

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Jered Weaver (W, 1-0): 6 innings, 3 earned runs, 5 hits, 6 strikeouts, 2 walks, 1 homer.

Scott Baker (L, 0-1): 4 2/3 innings, 4 earned runs, 5 hits, 3 strikeouts, 3 walks, 1 homer, 1 wild pitch.

Notable Notes

  • Before I get into the awesomeness that was Opening Day of the 2010 baseball season, l want to congratulate Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss for being voted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Since buying the Lakers in 1979 from Jack Kent Cooke, Buss was at the helm for nine NBA titles and missed the playoffs only twice. With the Showtime Lakers of the 1980s he revolutionized the role of entertainment and celebrity in the NBA rolling out the purple carpet for stars like Jack Nicholson, Denzel Washington and other high rollers in Hollywood.
  • One more basketball note: Butler misses a half-court desperation shot that came inches of going in giving the NCAA Championship to Duke 61-59. Finally Butler couldn’t shimmy their way out of subpar shooting and being beat off the glass. Now on to baseball!
  • The gem of the day came from Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle. In the top of fifth inning with one out, Cleveland Indians’ catcher Lou Marson hit a comebacker that bounced off Buehrle’s foot and dribbled towards the first base line. Buehrle charged at the ball like a bull, grabbed it in foul territory with his glove, immediately tossed it between his legs to first baseman Paul Konerko made the barehanded catch to get the out. After his perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays last season it would be hard to top that moment, but this one is a pretty damned cool highlight. The video is here. Buehrle also found the inner fortitude and energy to pitch seven innings of a three-hit shutout against the Indians who would lay a goose egg on the scoreboard.
  • With starting pitcher Dan Haren on first base with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning, Arizona Diamondback’s shortstop Stephen Drew hit a drive that hit off of a porch just to the right of dead center field. It was the second consecutive season that an inside the park home run was hit on Opening Day. Prior to last season when the Florida Marlins’ third baseman Emilio Bonifacio hit his inside the parker, you have to go back to 1968 when Boston Red Sox’s Carl Yastrzemski did it. The video of Drew’s homer is here.
  • My new favorite pitcher is Houston Astro’s reliever Sammy Gervacio. Before going into the windup, Gervacio does baseball’s version of the Legally Blonde bend and snap routine. I don’t care if he’s any good at all. It’s just fun to watch him pitch. Take a look:
  • Pitching was ugly this opening day. Of the 26 teams that played, only five teams scored three runs or less. The Atlanta Braves won the day with 16 runs while the Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals each scored 11 runs. Among the exceptions were Mark Buehrle as noted above, the Phillies’ Roy Halladay who gave up only one run in seven innings against the Washington Nationals, the Giants’ Tim Lincecum’s seven inning shutout of the Houston Astros and DBacks’ Dan Haren’s seven innings of one-run ball.

Tonight’s Action

Minnesota Twins (0-1) at LA Angels (1-0). Nick Blackburn (0-0) vs. Joe Saunders (0-0). 7:05 pm FSWest, AM 830 KLAA.

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LA Kings at Anaheim Ducks. 7:00 pm FS Prime Ticket, AM 1150 KTLK (Kings Radio)