Wells, Wells, and Dontrelle and the walkoff of the day

1. Better Nate than Never

Nate Robertson pitched five solid innings in his first start for Florida in eight seasons, and the Marlins beat the New York Mets, 3-1. Robertson (1-0) allowed just six hits in his first start for the Marlins since Sept. 7, 2002, at Pittsburgh. Florida had included him in a 2003 trade with Detroit that sent Mark Redman to Miami. Jorge Cantu hit a tiebreaking RBI double in the 5th and Gaby Sanchez added a run-scoring double in the 6th for Florida, which took the last two of the three-game set.

The Mets are now 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position in their last two games, but on the bright side, Jonathon Niese (0-1) returning from a horrific hamstring tear last season, pitched six innings giving up eight hits and all three runs but looked pretty good. The game was played in front of a crowd of 25,982, a record low for Citi Field. On the other hand, the Marlins thought the place was packed.

2. All Wells for the Cubs

The Chicago Cubs picked up their first win of the season as Randy Wells pitched six scoreless innings to lead the Cubs past the Atlanta Braves, 2-0. Wells combined with four relievers on the eight-hit shutout and outpitched Tommy Hanson who gave up four hits and two runs in 5.1 innings. Chicago rookie Tyler Colvin, who was born in Augusta, Ga., hit his first major league homer and Marlon Byrd, from Sprayberry High near Atlanta, hit his 62nd major league homer. Neither is expected to play in the Masters and either will Chipper Jones who left the game after the third inning with a strained right oblique and may miss the team’s weekend series at San Francisco.

3. All Wells for the Blue Jays

Vernon Wells hit his fourth homer in three games and the Toronto Blue Jays scored three times in the 9th against closer Frank Francisco to beat the Texas Rangers, 3-1. Wells became the first Blue Jays player to homer in each of the first three games of the season. Last year, Wells, who finished with 15 homers and 66 RBIs, his fewest in each category since becoming a regular in 2002, did not hit his fourth homer of the season until May 3. Rangers’ starter  C.J. Wilson struck out nine and allowed five hits over seven innings. Toronto starter Ricky Romero allowed his one run in the 7th and overall just gave up five hits in seven innings, striking out four and walking two. Casey Janssen (1-0) earned the win striking out the side in the 8th, and Jason Frasor picked up his second save in three chances. Vladimir Guerrero went 3 for 4 for Texas, making him 7 for 11 (.636) this season.

4. All’s Dontrelle for the Tigers

Miguel Cabrera homered and drove in four runs and Dontrelle Willis turned in six solid innings in his first regular-season start in almost 10 months, leading the Detroit Tigers to a 7-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals. Willis allowed two runs on seven hits, with two walks (both in the 1st inning and the first was the leadoff batter on four pitches) and four strikeouts in six innings. Cabrera hit a three-run home run on an 0-2 count off Luis Mendoza (0-1) in the 8th, putting the Tigers on top 4-2 and had an RBI single in a three-run 9th as the Royals’ bullpen blew a save for the third straight game.

Brian Bannister gave the Royals their third quality start from a starting pitcher going six innings, allowing six hits, just one run, no walks and three strikeouts. However, Bannister was playing with fire as he got a groundball out from only one of the 23 batters he faced. In the series with Detroit, starters Zack Greinke, Luke Hochevar and Brian Bannister combined for a 0.92 ERA allowing two earned runs and 17 hits in 19.2 innings walking just two and striking out nine. Their combined record? 0-0.

5. Today’s schedule

AL

Indians (David Huff) at Tigers (Rick Porcello), 1:05

Blue Jays (Brandon Morrow) at Orioles (Brad Bergesen), 3:05

Yankees (Javier Vazquez) at Rays (David Price), 7:10

Mariners (Jason Vargas) at Rangers (Colby Lewis), 8:05

Indians (Justin Masterson) at White Sox (Gavin Floyd), 8:10

Twins (Francisco Liriano) at White Sox (John Danks), 8:10

Red Sox (Tim Wakefield) at Royals (Kyle Davies), 8:10

A’s (Gio Gonzalez) at Angels (Matt Palmer), 10:05

NL

Padres (Clayton Richard) at Rockies (Jorge de la Rosa), 4:10

Braves (Tim Hudson) at Giants (Jonathan Sanchez), 4:35

Cubs (Carlos Silva) at Reds (Homer Bailey), 7:10

Nationals (Garrett Mock) at Mets (Mike Pelfrey), 7:10

Dodgers (Hiroki Kuroda) at Marlins (Chris Volstad), 7;10

Phillies (J.A. Happ) at Astros (Bud Norris), 8:05

Cardinals (Kyle Lohse) at Brewers (David Bush), 8:10

Pirates (Charlie Morton) at Diamondbacks (Rodrigo Lopez), 9:40

The new edition of the Lee Sinins’ Complete Baseball Encyclopedia is now available. Place your order for the fabulous piece of work at http://www.baseball-encyclopedia.com and tell Lee that Billy-Ball sent you.

6. Dented Halos

Jim Thome drove home three with his 565th career home run, Brendan Harris hit a two-run shot in the 5th to break a 1-1- tie and Delmon Young added a 9th inning three-run homer to lead the Twins to a 10-1 rout of the Los Angeles Angels. The Halos 1-3 start is their worst since starting 1992 at 0-4 when they finished 72-90. The Twins have homered in each of their first four games for the first time since 1997 when they finished 68-94.

Returning from wrist surgery last August, Kevin Slowey (1-0) allowed a run and seven hits over 5.1 innings and struck out three to pick up the win. Joel Piniero (0-1), in his Angels debut, allowed three runs and five hits in six-plus innings and took the loss.

Hideki Matsui started in left field for the Angels after three games as the DH. It was his first appearance in the outfield since June 15, 2008. He did not get an opportunity to make a putout.

7. First wins of the season

  • The Dodgers avoided a Bucs sweep defeating Pittsburgh, 10-2. Rafael Belliard finished a single short of the cycle.
  • I really like young pitcher Brian Matusz who allowed two runs over five innings, as the Baltimore Orioles avoided a sweep by beating the Tampa Bay Rays 5-4.

Following the first series of the season, only the Atlanta Braves remain undefeated and the Houston Astros remain winless.

8. A Night to Forget

Royals third baseman Alberto Callaspo had such a bad game last night…. How bad was it? It was so bad that his strikeout in the 3rd was his offensive highlight of the game.

Here’s a quick summary:

Bottom of the 1st KC 0 – Det 0:Runners on 1st and second, no one out, Callaspo grounds into a 6-4-3 double play.

Bottom of the 3rd KC 1 – Det 0: Runners on 1st and second, no one out, following a passed ball that puts runners on the corners, Callaspo whiffs.

Bottom of the 5th KC 2 – Det 0: Runners on first and third, one down, Callaspo grounds into a ‘round the horn inning killer DP.

Bottom of the 7th KC 2 – Det 1: Bases Royally flush, two down, 2-2 count, Callaspo grounds out to first

Final score: Detroit 7 – Kansas City 3 – Callaspo 0-for-4, 0-4 with runners in scoring position

9. I Love Walkoffs

Jonny Gomes crushed a 2-2 pitch from the Cardinals’ Jason Motte with one out in the bottom of the 9th and Gomes knew as soon as he hit it that it was walkoff homer to give the Reds a 2-1 win.

Gomes said in this morning’s Cincinnati Enquirer, “A solo home run doesn’t win that game without Bronson Arroyo pitching the way he did. We can talk about his stuff all day and we can talk about his toughness. Taking that ball off the calf and staying in there. Those guys ran together a bunch of hits and a bunch of offense the first two games. Bronson sitting back and being the pro he is and pitching a great game.”

Despite a line drive that Arroyo  took flush on his calf from Colby Rasmus, Arroyo took a two-hit shutout into the 7th before Matt Holliday tied it with a leadoff home run, his first dinger of the year. Arroyo also drove home the first Reds run with a two-out RBI single in the 5th. Arroyo ending up pitching eight and Francisco Cordero pitched a perfect 9th for the win.

Have a great weekend, and give a thought to Nick Adenhart who was killed in a car crash one year ago today.