|Pineda: nearing perfect|
Opening day is an American tradition like no other and there’s no place with more history than at one of baseball’s shrines, Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.
While the Yanks had thus far struggled to a 2-4 record on the road, Monday was the home opener for the Bombers, facing Tampa Bay in the first of a three game series.
Making his second start of the season, Michael Pineda took the mound for New York, facing Alex Cobb of the Rays. It wasn’t long before Pineda, a 6'7" righty, had the crowd on its feet, necks craning on every delivery, as he engineered a spectacular perfect game though six complete innings.
In the seventh, Pineda got the first two men, but Evan Longoria, forever the Yankee nemesis, lined a shot down the left field line and into the corner for a solid double, breaking up Pineda’s quest for perfection.
Unfazed, Pineda got Brad Miller for the final out of the inning and returned for the eighth. Maybe seven strong innings had been enough for Pineda, because Logan Morrison ended any contemplation of a shutout with a one-out solo homer to right field.
With the Yankees up, 3-1, Pineda was lifted after getting the next out, going 7 2/3 innings on two hits, one run, fanning 11 without surrendering a walk, having set down the first 20 batsmen in order.
Tyler Clippard threw one pitch to get out of the eighth inning. New York tacked on five more runs in their half of the eighth with Jason Shreve mopping up with a perfect ninth to win going away, 8-1.
|Drew: Big day at plate|
Both teams take a day off Tuesday before taking the field again on Wednesday for game two of the series, 1:05 pm ET.
There's trouble in River City, that being St. Louis, and while trouble with a capital "T" might rhyme with "P" and stand for "pool," as the song from "The Music Man" suggests, the trouble in St. Louis starts with "O" which stands for "offense" and has lately been nil.
Starting off the season with a six-game home stand, the Cards went 2-4, scoring a total of just five runs in the losses, two of them shutouts by traditional rival, Cincinnati, not respected as a power-pitching team, but, nevertheless, capable of whipping the Cardinals in two of three games, just as the Cubs did to open the season in St. Louis.
On Monday, taking a trip to the nation's capitol to face the Nationals, it wasn't the offense so much as the pitching that plagued the Cardinals (yes, pitching starts with "P" and rhymes with "T") as six St. Louis hurlers combined to allow Washington to score more than a dozen runs in a 14-6 blowout for the Nats.
Bryce Harper lashed four singles in four at-bats drove in three and scored twice, but honors go to shortstop Stephen Drew, who doubled and singled twice in four at-bats, drove in four runs and scored thrice.
Drew joined the Nationals after the 2015 season, after short stints in Boston and with the New York Yankees. In his 13th year as a major leager, Drew carries a career .252 average but has always been a solid glove man, which is why the Nationals took up his contract.
As for the Cardinals, little has gone right thus far, but they'll try to make the best of a poor start when they face the Nationals in game two of the three-game set, Tuesday night at 7:00 pm ET.