By GABE CRAIG
Baseball fans can rejoice, as the MLB’s 162-game grind finally began this past Sunday. The first official game of the season began in St. Petersburg, Florida, as the Rays sent Chris Archer to the hill against New York Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka. Tampa Bay would score seven runs, all earned, on Tanaka before the end of the third inning. Evan Longoria hit the first home run of the 2017 season in the second inning off Tanaka. Longoria and Logan Morrison both had three RBIs for the Rays. The Yankees offense was kept quiet most of the night by Chris Archer, who struck out five Yanks over seven innings of two run ball. Archer’s only real blemish would be an RBI double given up to rookie right fielder Aaron Judge. 7-3 would be the final score.
The Cardinals and the Diamondbacks would also win their season openers on Sunday, both in walk-off fashion. The hero for Arizona would be Chris Owings, who had an RBI walk-off single against new San Francisco closer Mark Melancon. Melancon signed a four-year $62 million deal in the off-season. The Giants did, however, get a quality start from ace Madison Bumgarner, who threw seven innings of three-run ball while striking out eleven and walking none. He also impressed at the plate by becoming the first pitcher in history to hit two home runs on opening day. Later Sunday night, the Cardinals would walk against the Cubs 4-3. Randal Grichuk hit a bases loaded single to deep left field to secure the win for St. Louis. Grichuk homered in the inning prior as well to tie the game.
The 24 other teams played their first games on Monday. Mets ace Noah Syndergaard made his first opening day start and threw six innings of shutout ball, but took the no decision in his duel against Atlanta Braves starter Julio Teheran. Teheran matched Syndergaard and threw six scoreless innings himself. The Mets would come out victorious after a six-run seventh inning, which included a bases-clearing double by first baseman Lucas Duda. 6-0 would be the final score, While Mets fans can celebrate an opening day victory, concerns are already arising over their health. Starting pitchers, Steven Matz and Seth Lugo, will start the season on the disabled list. Mike Puma of the New York Post reported Lugo will miss “significant time” due to elbow problems. Syndergaard has already shown some health concerns. He stated that a blood blister burst during his start on Monday. Luckily, manager Terry Collins reports, he will only need one additional day of rest and is tentatively scheduled to make his next start on Sunday against the Marlins.
In the Nation League West, the Los Angeles Dodgers crushed the San Diego Padres 14-3. Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw improved to a 5-0 record on opening day after he pitched seven innings on Monday. He also sports a 0.99 ERA over seven opening day starts. Joc Pederson and Yasmani Grandal lead the Dodgers offensive outburst, combining for three homeruns and driving in eight. In interleague play, the Boston Red Sox rode a quality performance from Cy Young winner Rick Porcello to beat the the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3. Sox rookie outfielder, Andrew Benintendi, smoked a three-run homer in the fifth to secure the victory. Benintendi looks to duplicate the success of his brief but stellar 2016 season and potentially earn a Rookie of the Year Award. The Red Sox division rivals, Baltimore and Toronto, battled through 11 innings until Mark Trumbo ended the game with a walk-off solo shot, giving the Orioles a 3-2 victory. Full scores, stats, and standings are available at mlb.com