Yu Darvish made his highly-anticipated season debut on Sunday for the Rangers, and the Cy Young contender looked pretty similar to his old self in Texas’ 3-0 win over the Rays. His fastball sat at 93 and topped out at 96 – just like it usually does. He generated seven whiffs on just 89 pitches. In seven innings, Darvish allowed seven hits, walked only one hitter, and punched out six. It may not have been a perfectly vintage Darvish performance, but it was just what the Rangers needed after losing two straight in Tampa.
Game of the Day: Orioles 3, Tigers 1. After coming close to rallying back on Saturday, Baltimore finally was able to triumph over the Tigers on Sunday. This game was tied at one heading into the eighth, and after a Nick Markakis one-out triple, Adam Jones put the Orioles in front with a sacrifice fly off of Justin Verlander. The Orioles picked up some extra insurance in the ninth after a Matt Wieters solo homer, which almost proved to be necessary following a double by Victor Martinez in the bottom of the ninth. But closer Tommy Hunter stranded Martinez at second to seal up the win for the O’s.
Pitching Lines of the Day: Chris Sale and James Shields had some fun at Kauffman Stadium. In Chicago’s 5-1 win, Sale gave up just four hits over eight shutout innings, walking one and punching out six. Shields countered Sale by allowing one run on five hits in seven, striking out six of his own without a walk. You can’t blame Alex Cobb for the Rays’ loss to the Rangers – he pitched better than Darvish, giving up just three hits in seven scoreless innings, striking out six and walking one. In that Orioles win over the Tigers, Chris Tillman pitched very well, giving up one run on five hits in 8 1/3 innings, walking one and striking out five. Alfredo Simon had a nice start for the Reds in their 2-1 win over the Mets, allowing one run on four hits in seven innings, striking out six and walking one.
Hitting Lines of the Day: The duo of Hanley Ramirez and Matt Kemp powered the Dodgers past the Giants 6-2, as Ramirez went 3/4 with a double, two homers, and three runs scored, while Kemp went 2/3 with two homers and three RBI. Ryan Kalish helped the Cubs top the Phillies 8-3, going 2/3 with two runs, three RBI, two walks, a double, and a triple. In Minnesota’s 10-7 win over Cleveland, the Twins’ Chris Colabello went 2/5 with a run, four RBI, and a double in the win, while teammate Joe Mauer went 3/4 with two runs, a walk, and a double. In the loss, the Indians’ David Murphy went 4/5 with a run scored and a pair of doubles. Jonathan Villar helped the Astros beat the Angels 7-4, going 1/3 with two runs, two RBI, a homer, and a stolen base. Alexi Amarista powered the Padres to a 4-2 win over the Marlins, going 1/2 with a three-run homer.
Other Games: The Yankees beat the Blue Jays 6-4 behind the arm of C.C. Sabathia. The Nationals salvaged their series with the Braves, winning 2-1. The Pirates beat the Cardinals 2-1 thanks to a shockingly good start by Edinson Volquez. The Brewers shut out the Red Sox 4-0 to complete a sweep of the defending champions at Fenway Park. The Diamondbacks looked like a competent baseball team for once, topping the Rockies 5-3. The Athletics doubled up the Mariners 6-3.
Today’s Games: There’s only a half slate of games today. The Brewers-Phillies game is already postponed. Ubaldo Jimenez starts for the Orioles in New York against the Yankees. C.J. Wilson and the Angels complete their series in Houston against Jarred Cosart and the Astros. Michael Wacha and the Cardinals host the Reds. Scott Kazmir will take the hill for the A’s in Minnesota (barring a snow out, of course). Matt Moore will toe the rubber for the Rays in Kansas City against Jason Vargas.
National TV: Orioles-Yankees (1 PM, MLB Network), Reds-Cardinals (4 PM, MLB Network), Athletics-Twins (4 PM, MLB Network), Rangers-Red Sox (7 PM, ESPN)
MLB.tv Free Game: Athletics-Twins (4 PM)
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.