Opening Day live blog (cont.)
The Tigers have stretched their lead over the Red Sox to 2-0 heading to the ninth. They got an insurance run in the eighth from an Austin Jackson leadoff triple and a sacrifice fly to centerfield by $214 million addition Prince Fielder. Jacoby Ellsbury's throw to the plate to try and get Jackson hits the lip of the grass around the mound, allowing Jackson to score easily. As expected, Papa Grande (Jose Valverde) is coming on to pitch the ninth. -- Cliff Corcoran
Someone forgot to tell the Indians that runs were hard to come by today. They've scored four off Blue Jays ace Ricky Romero, all of them in the second inning and three of them coming on a home run by Jack Hannahan. It's the first home run of a day that has otherwise been dominated by pitchers and the first of the third Opening Day of the 2012 season, a little bit of trivia you may want to tuck away for a bar bet this September. -- Ted Keith
Only seven innings into the season, and the Mets already have their first injury. Centerfielder Andres Torres, who's been battling a left calf strain, pulled up lame chasing a gapper hit by Tyler Pastornicky for a triple. (It was the first major-league hit for Atlanta's Pastornicky -- and might have only been a double had Torres not hurt himself.) The club just announced that he reinjured that same calf. The Mets still hold their 1-0 lead now in the top of the eighth. -- Joe Lemire
Justin Verlander works a 1-2-3 eighth to push his day to 105 pitches and eight scoreless innings. He has retired the last seven men he has faced. In the ninth inning the Red Sox will send up Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez, and David Ortiz, who are 1-for-8 with a walk in this game, but it's likely Verlander won't be around to face them. Detroit has Jose Valverde, who converted all 52 of his save chances last season, including the postseason, ready to pitch the ninth. -- Cliff Corcoran
The scouting report on Pedro Alvarez: the guy can only hit straight fastballs. During his first at-bat, Halladay threw him two curves, four cutters and a splitter (Alvarez flew out to center). In his second at-bat, Halladay threw him four straight cutters, followed by a curve that produced a swinging strike out. In his third, which just happened: curve, cutter, then another cutter, which Alvarez turned into a soft flyout to center, in the process becoming the 13th straight Pirate Halladay has retired.
Alvarez's immense power made him the 2nd pick of the 2008 draft, and he is a key part of the Pirates' (so-called) rebuilding effort. But he hit a miserable .191, with 80 strikeouts in 74 games last year, and even though he was no better this spring (.170, 22 K's in 19 games), the Pirates said they'd allow him to work things out as their starting third baseman. It's too early to make a definitive judgment, and unfair to make one about a hitter based on three at-bats versus Roy Halladay. However, suffice it to say, the early returns have not been promising. -- Ben Reiter
The floodgates open at Wrigley! After an Alfonso Soriano one-out single, birthday boy Ian Stewart hits a dribbler in front of home plate (Stewart's first two at-bats with the Cubs have traveled a combined seven feet) and Wilson Ramos' throw to second is off. Soriano is thrown out stealing at third (Ryan Zimmerman does his Hugo Chavez security force impression, with a great pick at third on the play to save Ramos). Cubs fans will bash Soriano for the CS, but it was not a bad idea to attempt it. After a Jeff Baker walk Marlon Byrd drops a single into left for the fourth run of faux Opening Day. The Cubs have a seemingly insurmountable 1-0 lead at the end of four. -- Gary Gramling
Justin Masterson gives up a double to Adam Lind leading off the second but retires Edwin Encarnacion and brett Lawrie withot the ball leaving the infield. Masterson then strands Lind at third when he takes a hit away from Eric Thames by snagging a groundball up the middle. -- Ted Keith
With two outs in the seventh, Detroit's Jhonny Peralta doubles into the leftfield corner on a 92 mph fastball at the knee but over the plate. Jon Lester doesn't get the call on a 1-2 changeup at the top of the zone to Alex Avila, then just misses outside with a fastball, and Avila hits the next pitch, another fastball away, into the left field corner for an RBI double, putting the Tigers up 1-0 with the first run of the game.
Peralta is the hitting star so far. He's singled, walked and doubled in three trips and scored the game's only run. Lester strikes out Ramon Santiago on his 107th pitch, but is now in line for a tough loss with Justin Verlander coming back out for the eighth and Phil Coke and Joaquin Benoit warming in the Tigers' bullpen. 1-0 Tigers after seven. -- Cliff Corcoran
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