Cardinals’ Molina has fans seeing Red again


CINCINNATI — Yadier Molina got the loudest boos during pregame introductions. The five-time All-Star catcher got booed again as he rounded the bases for his game-turning homer.

On opening day, he was driving them batty in Cincinnati again.

Molina broke a seventh-inning time with a home run and made a pair of slick defensive plays on Monday, leading the defending National League champion St. Louis Cardinals to a 1-0 victory over the Reds.

Everyone knew the star of this one.

“Matt Holliday said it best when we were coming in shaking hands: ‘Yadi wins,’” starter Adam Wainwright said.

It wasn’t all Molina. The Cardinals’ impeccable pitching was in top form, too.

The Reds were blanked on opening day for the first time since 1953, ending the second-longest streak of scoring in at least one run in season openers in major league history. The Phillies went 62 years without being blanked in an opener from 1911-72.

Wainwright used his refined sinker to finally get the best of the Reds, who have hit him like no other team. Wainwright allowed three hits in seven innings, fanning nine.

“I’ve never pitched great against the Reds,” said Wainwright, who threw 105 pitches. “Today I wanted to make the emphasis on executing pitches. I tried to simplify it as much as possible.”

St. Louis escaped a threat in the eighth, when the Reds had runners on first and third with nobody out. Trevor Rosenthal retired all three batters in the ninth, finishing a three-hitter.

“We weren’t able to get a hit there,” said Bryan Price, who lost his managing debut. “It was disappointing, but there will be more disappointments along the way.”

During pregame introductions, Molina got by far the loudest boos from the crowd of 43,134 — the second-largest for a regular-season game in Great American Ball Park history. Fans still haven’t forgiven the five-time All Star catcher for a 2010 brawl at home plate with Brandon Phillips.

They were booing again after his first-pitch homer in the seventh, his second career off Johnny Cueto (0-1). It was one of only three hits off Cueto in seven innings.

Not that the catcher noticed all the commotion from the stands.

“I come over here and try to win games,” he said. “That’s why I’m here.”

Molina also fielded Joey Votto’s grounder in front of the plate to start a double play in the third inning, part of an impressive game all-around.

“I’m biased, but I think he’s the best I’ve ever seen at that position,” Wainwright said.

Wainwright won 19 games and finished second in the NL Cy Young Award voting last season, when he had his biggest trouble with the Reds. He went 1-3 in four starts with a 7.77 ERA against Cincinnati, getting knocked around so much that he called it a “head-scratcher.”

Wainwright (1-0) refined a sinker in spring training and was in control on a breezy, 64-degree afternoon. He fanned new Reds leadoff hitter Billy Hamilton four times.

The Reds’ best chance came in the eighth, when the Cardinals committed two errors. Phillips became the first Reds runner to reached third base, but was caught in a rundown on Jay Bruce’s grounder. Carlos Martinez fanned Todd Frazier for the final out, stranding a runner at third.

Cueto’s third straight opening-day start was a reminder that it’s a matter of staying healthy. He was on the disabled list three times last season, limited to 11 starts. He changed his delivery slightly to try to avoid injury, and was on the mark on opening day until Molina connected.

BREWERS 2, BRAVES 0

MILWAUKEE — Brewers star Ryan Braun drew a standing ovation in his return from a drug suspension, then was ruled out in the first call overturned under baseball’s expanded replay system.

Braun went 1 for 4 and stole a base in the fourth inning that helped set up a two-run double by Aramis Ramirez.

A smattering of boos during Braun’s first at-bat was easily drowned out by the overwhelming applause. The former MVP was suspended for the final 65 games last year in the Biogenesis doping scandal.

Later, Braun had his infield single to lead off the sixth overturned to out after the call was challenged by Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez under Major League Baseball’s new replay format.

The review took 58 seconds.

Yovani Gallardo (1-0) tossed six shutout innings for the win.

Making his first opening day start, Julio Teheran (0-1) allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings.

CARDINALS 1, REDS 0

CINCINNATI — Yadier Molina’s homer broke a seventh-inning tie, leading St. Louis Cardinals to a victory over the Reds.

Adam Wainwright (1-0) used his refined sinker to finally get the best of the Reds, who have hit him like no other team. Wainwright allowed three hits in seven innings, fanning nine.

St. Louis escaped a threat in the eighth. Trevor Rosenthal retired all three batters in the ninth, finishing a three-hitter for the defending National League champions.

Bryan Price lost his managing debut with Cincinnati, which opened the season with eight players on the disabled list, its most since 2007.

Johnny Cueto (0-1) allowed three hits in seven innings.

PIRATES 1, CUBS 0, 10 INNINGS

PITTSBURGH — Neil Walker homered off Carlos Villanueva leading off the 10th inning, and the Pirates benefited from an overturned to call to beat the Cubs 1-0 on opening day.

Reliever Bryan Morris (1-0) won with the help of an overturned pickoff call in the top of the 10th under Major League Baseball’s new replay system. Starter Francisco Liriano and four relievers combined for 11 strikeouts.

Emilio Bonifacio went 4 for 5 for Chicago, but the Cubs were 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position and wasted a fine start by Jeff Samardzija, who scattered five hits over seven innings.

MARLINS 10, ROCKIES 1

MIAMI — Jose Fernandez struck out nine and allowed one run in six innings, and Marlins newcomer Casey McGehee drove in four runs with two doubles to help Miami beat the Rockies.

The sellout crowd of 37,116 was the largest yet at Marlins Park, which opened two years ago.

The 21-year-old Fernandez earned the victory while becoming the youngest NL opening-day starter since Dwight Gooden in 1986, according to STATS.

Marcell Ozuna homered, doubled, singled and scored twice. Giancarlo Stanton had an RBI infield single and a run-scoring double. Adeiny Hechavarria singled three times and drove in a run.

Carlos Gonzalez homered for the Rockies in the sixth, but by then they trailed 6-0. Jorge De La Rosa (0-1) allowed five runs in 4 1-3 innings in his first opening day start.

NATIONALS 9, METS 7, 10 INNINGS

NEW YORK — Anthony Rendon hit a three-run homer in the 10th inning and drove in a career-high four runs, twice rallying the Nationals against the Mets’ suspect bullpen for an opening-day victory.

Denard Span hit a tying double with two outs in the ninth off closer Bobby Parnell, and Ian Desmond put the Nationals in front for the first time with a sacrifice fly in the 10th. Rendon connected two batters later against former Washington pitcher John Lannan, securing a win for Matt Williams in his first game as a major league manager.

Stephen Strasburg struck out 10 over six innings in his third straight opening-day start.

Juan Lagares and Andrew Brown both homered for New York after they were surprise additions to the lineup.

Aaron Barrett (1-0) struck out two in a perfect inning to win his major league debut.

Jeurys Familia (0-1) took the loss, hurt by catcher Travis d’Arnaud’s passed ball.

GIANTS 9, DIAMONDBACKS 8

PHOENIX 1 — Buster Posey hit a two-run homer off new Arizona closer Addison Reed in the ninth inning and the Giants rallied from four runs down to beat the Diamondbacks.

Miguel Montero, who had three hits and reached base five times, homered to lead off the Arizona ninth and make it a one-run game.

Brandon Belt had three hits, including a solo home run, and singled ahead of Posey’s homer.

Arizona scored four unearned runs off starter Madison Bumgarner in the fourth and led 7-3 after six. San Francisco got four runs with two outs in the seventh, with reliever Brad Ziegler walking in the tying run.

Jean Machi (1-0) pitched 1 2-3 innings of relief to get the victory. Reed (0-1), acquired from the Chicago White Sox in the offseason, got the loss.

Rollins rallies Phillies

ARLINGTON, Texas — Jimmy Rollins hit a grand slam and pinch-hitter John Mayberry Jr. had a two-run double that put the Philadelphia ahead to stay in a wild opening 14-10 victory over the Texas Rangers on Monday.

Marlon Byrd and Cody Asche also homered for the Phillies, who scored their most runs in an opener since beating the Boston Beaneaters 19-17 in 1900.

Cliff Lee (1-0) matched his career high by allowing eight runs and struck out only one, but the left-hander made it through five innings.

Tanner Scheppers, the first pitcher since Fernando Valenzuela for the 1981 Los Angeles Dodgers in 1981 to make his first big league start on opening day, gave up seven runs over four innings, including the slam by Rollins that made it 6-0 in the second. Mayberry had his tiebreaking hit in the fifth off Pedro Figueroa (0-1) for a 9-7 lead.

ORIOLES 2. RED SOX 1

BALTIMORE (AP) — Nelson Cruz celebrated his Baltimore debut by hitting a tiebreaking homer in the seventh off Jon Lester (0-1), sending World Series champion Boston to an opening loss.

Signed as a free agent in February, Cruz hit 27 homers last year with Texas during a season marred by a 50-game suspension stemming from an investigation of performance-enhancing drugs.

After missing two seasons recovering from knee surgery, Boston center fielder Grady Sizemore marked his return from a 922-day absence with a second-inning single for his first hit since September 2011. The three-time All-Star for Cleveland later hit his first home run since July 15, 2011, also at Camden Yards.

Zach Britton (1-0) pitched two scoreless innings, and Tommy Hunter worked the ninth for his first save.

TIGERS 4, ROYALS 3

DETROIT (AP) — Alex Gonzalez drove in the winning run in his Detroit debut, lining a single to left off Greg Holland in the ninth.

Acquired by Detroit in late March following an injury to shortstop Jose Iglesias, Gonzalez made a costly error in Kansas City’s three-run fourth but made up for that with a tying triple in the seventh. He then singled with men on first and third in the ninth, giving Brad Ausmus a win in his first game since replacing Jim Leyland as the Tigers’ manager.

Joe Nathan (1-0) pitched a scoreless ninth in his first appearance for the Tigers. Wade Davis (0-1) allowed a one-out walk to Alex Avila and a single to Nick Castellanos in the ninth.

Holland — who had 47 saves in 50 chances last year — couldn’t escape the jam as the Royals lost their sixth straight opener.

RAYS 9, BLUE JAYS 2

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — David Price (1-0) allowed two runs and six hits over 7 1-3 innings to beat R.A. Dickey in a matchup of 2012 Cy Young Award winners.

Matt Joyce drove in three runs for the Rays with a sacrifice fly and two-run double off Dickey (0-1), who yielded six two-out runs in five innings.

Toronto’s Jose Reyes left the lineup after his first at-bat because of a tight left hamstring and was put on the disabled list.

WHITE SOX 5, TWINS 3

CHICAGO (AP) — Alejandro De Aza hit two homers, and Jose Abreu had two hits in his major league debut.

Chicago’s Paul Konerko got a loud ovation before what was likely his final opener, although he wasn’t in the lineup. The White Sox are coming off a 63-99 season, their poorest record since 1970.

Chris Sale (1-0) allowed three runs and five hits in 7 1-3 innings with eight strikeouts to beat Ricky Nolasco (0-1), who gave up five runs and 10 hits in six innings in his Twins debut.

MARINERS 10, ANGELS 3

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Abraham Almonte hit a tiebreaking RBI double in the seventh inning and Felix Hernandez struck out 11 in the new-look Mariners victory over the Angels.

Robinson Cano went 2 for 4 with a double and an intentional walk in the $240 million second baseman’s debut for new Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon.

Justin Smoak hit a three-run homer and Dustin Ackley had a bases-clearing triple while the Mariners batted around in the ninth inning.

Mike Trout hit a two-run homer in the first inning and Albert Pujols had a run-scoring double for the Angels.

Hernandez (1-0) gave up four hits over six innings in his seventh opening day start for the Mariners. He outdueled Jered Weaver (0-1), who yielded six hits and three walks.

INDIANS 2, ATHLETICS 0

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Nyjer Morgan hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the ninth inning against new Athletics closer Jim Johnson and the Indians sent Oakland to its major league-record 10th straight opening loss.

Nick Swisher added an RBI single against Johnson (0-1), who was then pulled from his A’s debut.

In the sixth, crew chief Mike Winters became the first umpire to initiate a review under the expanded replay system, making the call after a collision at home plate. Winters requested the review on a close play that kept Cleveland from breaking a scoreless tie. The call was confirmed in 59 seconds.

 

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