PITTSBURGH — For his first start with the Pirates, Edinson Volquez beat Adam Wainwright. That’ll do nicely as an early return on that offseason contract he signed with the Pirates.
Tony Sanchez hit a tiebreaking RBI double in the seventh inning and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the St. Louis Cardinals 2-1 on Sunday.
Singed to a one-year, $5 million contract as a free agent in December, Volquez was sharp in his first start for the Pirates as he gave up one run and three hits in 5 2-3 innings with one walk and four strikeouts. That came after Volquez pitched two scoreless innings of relief Thursday against the Chicago Cubs.
“What you saw was fastball command with downhill angle, big-time spin and tilt on the breaking ball, a good changeup and getting ahead with good pitches,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “He pitched a gem.”
Volquez got a standing ovation when he walked off the mound.
“I think I did a great job and the fans appreciated what I did,” Volquez said. “I just wanted to keep making another good pitch, keep the ball down and get them to hit the ball on the ground. All my pitches were there.”
Sanchez’s double to deep center field with two outs came off Wainwright (1-1) and snapped a 1-1 tie.
The hit by the rookie reserve catcher scored Pedro Alvarez, who led off the inning with a walk, and was Sanchez’s second winning hit of the week as he singled home the winning run in the 16th inning of Wednesday night’s victory over the Chicago Cubs.
St. Louis managed just three hits.
NATIONALS 2, BRAVES 1
WASHINGTON — Ian Desmond led off the seventh inning with a home run — the only run of the game scored on a hit — and the Washington Nationals and their makeshift lineup avoided a sweep with a 2-1 win over the Atlanta Braves.
Desmond ripped a down-the-middle fastball from Alex Wood (1-1) well into the left field bleachers, the Nationals’ first hit since the first inning. But it was enough to win on a day when four Washington pitchers combined to allow eight hits.
PADRES 4, MARLINS 2
MIAMI — Pinch-hitter Alexi Amarista celebrated his 25th birthday by delivering a go-ahead, three-run homer in the seventh inning to lift San Diego.
Ian Kennedy (1-1) allowed one run and three hits in six innings for the Padres. He struck out five.
Amarista’s home run came off Nathan Eovaldi (1-1), who held the Padres scoreless through six. Eovaldi struck out eight and allowed six hits.
REDS 2, METS 1
NEW YORK — Alfredo Simon pitched seven impressive innings in his first start in more than two years and began the go-ahead rally with his second career hit, helping Cincinnati salvage a win in the three-game series.
Joey Votto had a sacrifice fly and Ryan Ludwick a tiebreaking single off Jonathon Niese (0-1), who was making his first start of the season after a being slowed by shoulder and elbow injuries this spring.
Simon (1-0) made 99 relief appearances for the Reds since his previous start, on Sept. 28, 2011, for Baltimore, but manager Bryan Price tapped the right-hander because Mat Latos is rehabbing from knee and elbow operations.
D-BACKS 5, ROCKIES 3
DENVER — Mark Trumbo homered for the fourth straight game as Arizona averted a sweep.
Wade Miley pitched eight strong innings to extend his mastery over the Rockies. He also had a career-best three hits, including an RBI single and benefited from a defense that turned five double plays as the Diamondbacks won for just the second time in nine games this season.
CUBS 8, PHILLIES 3
CHICAGO — Ryan Kalish hit a two-run double and an RBI triple and Chicago avoided a sweep.
Cubs starter Carlos Villanueva (1-2) allowed a run in five innings in his first start and third outing of the season.
A.J. Burnett (0-1), who signed a one-year, $16 million contract with the Phillies after he spent the last two seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates, allowed eight runs, four earned, in 5 2-3 innings. He struck out three but walked six.
ORIOLES 3, TIGERS 1
DETROIT — Chris Tillman outpitched Justin Verlander, allowing one run while working into the ninth and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Detroit Tigers 3-1 Sunday to avoid getting swept.
Verlander (0-1) gave up two runs on five hits and two walks over eight innings. He struck out three, moving past Tommy Bridges and into fourth place on the franchise’s all-time list with 1,674 in his career.
RANGERS 3, RAYS 0
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Yu Darvish allowed seven hits over seven innings in his season debut, Elvis Andrus hit a two-run homer, and Texas avoided a three-game sweep.
Darvish (1-0) struck out six and walked one. Sidelined by neck stiffness, it was his first outing since a spring training game on March 16.
Darvish got his 500th career strikeout, coming in 401 2-3 innings, by fanning David DeJesus and Wil Myers in the first. According to the Rangers, it is the fewest innings for a starter to reach 500 strikeouts in major league history.
YANKEES 6, BLUE JAYS 4
TORONTO — CC Sabathia pitched six innings for his first victory of the season and Brett Gardner hit a two-run home run for the New York.
Sabathia (1-1) allowed four runs and seven hits, walked none and struck out six. He was hit hard in Tuesday’s opening day loss at Houston, allowing six runs and eight hits, including two home runs, in six innings.
TWINS 10, INDIANS 7
CLEVELAND — Chris Colabello drove in four runs, Brian Dozier scored three times and Minnesota outslugged Cleveland.
Colabello, who played seven seasons of independent ball in Canada before signing with the Twins in 2012, broke a 6-6 tie with a three-run double in the sixth inning off Blake Wood (0-1). The 30-year-old Colabello leads the AL with 11 RBIs after six games.
ASTROS 7, ANGELS 4
HOUSTON — Scott Feldman threw seven strong innings, five Astros homered, and Houston snapped a three-game losing streak.
Feldman (2-0) did not allow a hit until two outs in the fourth, when Josh Hamilton dribbled one toward first base that went under the glove of Feldman, who charged at it off the mound.
WHITE SOX 5, ROYALS 1
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chris Sale gave up four singles in eight scoreless innings for Chicago.
Alexei Ramirez and Tyler Flowers each drove in a pair of runs as the White Sox won the series finale after dropping the first two games.
A’S 6, MARINERS 3
OAKLAND, Calif. — Jim Johnson struck out two and closed it out after losing back-to-back outings to begin with his new team, saving Oakland’s victory.
Brandon Moss hit a three-run homer, Yoenis Cespedes connected in the eighth and Josh Donaldson beat out an infield single in the fifth to drive in the go-ahead run.
Johnson, who converted 50 of 59 save opportunities in 2013, was acquired from Baltimore to replace departed All-Star Grant Balfour.
BREWERS 4, RED SOX 0
BOSTON — Yovani Gallardo made his second straight scoreless start and Milwaukee completed a three-game sweep.
The World Series champion Red Sox, who never had a losing record last year, fell to 2-4 and matched their longest skid of 2013.
They were swept just once last season, in a three-game series against the Texas Rangers from May 3-5.
But the Red Sox couldn’t score against Gallardo (2-0), who pitched six innings in Milwaukee’s 2-0 win over the Atlanta Braves in the season opener, and have lost their first three home games for the first time since 1984.
Jon Lester (0-2) pitched well for his second straight start but received little support again.