Chris Archer pitched seven solid innings and the Tampa Bay Rays won the first game of the new Major League Baseball season, roughing up Masahiro Tanaka and beating the New York Yankees, 7-3, Sunday in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Evan Longoria and Logan Morrison homered and drove in three runs apiece before a sellout crowd of 31,042 at Tropicana Field on opening day. Tanaka, who had baseball’s ERA in spring training, was tagged for a career-worst seven earned runs in 2 2/3 innings.
A first-time All-Star in 2015 who lost an AL-leading 19 times last season, Archer limited New York to two runs and seven hits. He narrowly escaped a bases-loaded jam and turned a five-run lead over to a revamped bullpen.
Closer Alex Colome replaced rookie Austin Pruitt with the bases loaded in the ninth, yielding a sacrifice fly to pinch hitter Chris Carter before finishing for a save.
There were three games around in the majors on the first day, and the Rays got off to a quick start.
Leadoff man Corey Dickerson singled in the Tampa Bay first for the first hit of the season and later scored on Longoria’s sacrifice fly as part of a three-run inning. Longoria connected for a two-run drive in the second.
Aaron Judge had a RBI double, while Starlin Castro and Chase Headley each had three hits for the Yankees.
at St. Louis 4, Chicago Cubs 3: Randal Grichuk hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning and a game-ending RBI single in the ninth to give the Cardinals a wild prime-time win. Jose Martinez sparked the winning rally with a pinch-hit double against Mike Montgomery, who closed out Chicago’s World Series championship in November.
Yadier Molina then was awarded the first no-pitch intentional walk in major league history, part of baseball’s off-season rule changes designed to speed up the game. With two outs and the bases loaded, Grichuk lined a 1-2 pitch into the gap in left-center for his second career game-ending hit. He was mobbed as he rounded first in the rain, and what was left of a sellout crowd of 47,566 cheered wildly.
The Cardinals appeared set for a tidy 3-0 win before the Cubs rallied in the ninth. Ben Zobrist was hit by a pitch from Seung-hwan Oh and Jason Heyward singled before Willson Contreras hit a drive to left for a tying homer.
Before the dramatic finish, the night belonged to St. Louis right-hander Carlos Martinez, who retired 12 in a row and 18 of 19 over one stretch against the defending champions. The ace right-hander struck out 10 and walked none in 7 1/3 innings in his first start on opening day.
Jon Lester kept Chicago in the game with five effective innings despite not having his best stuff. Kyle Schwarber reached three times in his first game as the leadoff hitter since Dexter Fowler left the Cubs for an $82.5-million, five-year contract with the Cardinals.
Arizona 6, at San Francisco 5: The Diamondbacks scored twice with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, with Chris Owings singling home the winning run, off new San Francisco closer Mark Melancon.
Derailed by a dreadful bullpen last year, the Giants started this season the same way — even after trying to fix the problem by bringing in Melancon on a $62 million, four-year contract. They wasted a record-breaking performance by ace Madison Bumgarner, who retired his first 16 batters and became the first pitcher to hit two home runs on opening day.
Arizona got a double and three singles after Melancon (0-1) retired his first two batters in the ninth. A.J. Pollock singled in the tying run and Owings dumped a base hit into right field to end it.
New Diamondbacks closer Fernando Rodney (1-0) gave up a run in a shaky ninth but got the victory.
Bumgarner struck out 11 with no walks in seven innings. He gave up three runs on six hits and became the first Giants pitcher to go deep twice in one game since Jim Gott in 1985. Bumgarner’s line-drive homer off Zack Greinke put the Giants ahead 2-0 in the fifth. Bumgarner’s second solo shot, off lefty Andrew Chafin, broke a 3-all tie in the seventh.