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A Yankee on the way in, Dave Winfield (page 42), and a Yankee who seemed to be on the way out, Bobby Murcer, drew special attention on Opening Day in New York. Murcer, who is 34 and narrowly survived being cut, ran the count to 3-2 and then slugged a pinch-hit grand-slam homer in the seventh inning to help make Tommy John a 10-3 victor. Three more New York home runs polished off Texas 5-1 in their next encounter.
Joe DiMaggio, who used to hit many a homer for the Yanks, is now a member of the Oriole board of directors. After Joe D. tossed out the ceremonial first ball on Opening Day, Baltimore beat Kansas City 5-3.
One of the few places where the new season was not greeted with complete joy was Boston. Gone from last year's starting lineup were stalwarts Fred Lynn, Rick Burleson, Butch Hobson and Carlton Fisk, all of whom are with other teams, and Carl Yastrzemski missed his first Opening Day in 21 seasons because of back spasms. Fortunately for the Red Sox, Jim Rice was still on hand and his grand slam sank the White Sox 5-4.
Back-to-back home runs by Larry Hisle and Gorman Thomas enabled Milwaukee to take a 5-3 opener in Cleveland, disappointing a crowd of 71,067. Mike Caldwell got the victory and Rollie Fingers nailed down the final five outs to earn a save. In between, Jamie Easterly fired two perfect innings of relief, giving rise to the hope that he will be able to lend Fingers a hand throughout the season.
MIL 2-0 DET 2-1 NY 2-1 BALT 1-1 BOS 1-1 TOR 1-2 CLEV 0-2
It didn't take former Brave Gary Matthews long to learn how exciting it is to be a Phillie. In his second game for Philadelphia, Matthews lined a shot at St. Louis Shortstop Garry Templeton with the bases full and nobody out in the eighth. Seemingly unsure whether he had trapped the ball or caught it on the fly, Templeton pegged the ball home for an apparent forceout, and the Cardinal fielders then tagged every Phillie and base in sight. Third Base Umpire Ed Vargo, however, had signaled that Templeton caught the liner, so what the Cardinals ostensibly pulled was a quadruple play. Undeterred, Philadelphia beat St. Louis 5-2. Bruce Sutter made his first appearance for the Cardinals the next day and sealed a 7-3 triumph over the Phillies with three innings of hitless relief.
Montreal and Pittsburgh split one-run games. The Expos took the opener 6-5 when Andre Dawson singled in the ninth, stole second and came home on Gary Carter's single. Homers by Dave Parker and Jason Thompson led the Pirates to a 3-2 victory on Sunday.
Tight pitching also prevailed in Chicago, where the Mets won two of three games from the Cubs. Neil Allen picked up a save in the first game when he protected a 2-0 verdict for Pat Zachry and then won the finale 2-1 when Hubic Brooks tripled in the ninth and came home on Mike Cubbage's sacrifice fly. Former Met Steve Henderson gave Chicago a 3-1 victory in the middle game when he tripled in two runs in the eighth.
NY 2-1 ST.L 1-1 MONT 1-1 PITT 1-1 CHI 1-2 PHIL 1-2