Best of MLB: Verlander fans 10 in Tigers' season-opening win over White Sox

Best of MLB: Verlander fans 10 in Tigers' season-opening win over White Sox

CHICAGO -- Justin Verlander struck out 10 to match the most by a Detroit pitcher on opening day since Mickey Lolich in 1970, and the Tigers backed him with three home runs in a 6-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday.

JaCoby Jones hit his first career homer, Nick Castellanos and Ian Kinsler also went deep against Jose Quintana (0-1), and the Tigers sent Rick Renteria to a loss in his debut as White Sox manager.

A day after the teams were rained out, Jones' three-run homer and Castellanos' two-run drive in a five-run second lifted Detroit into a 5-1 lead. Kinsler added a solo shot in the fourth.

Verlander (1-0), the AL Cy Young Award runner-up last season, gave up two runs and six hits while walking two in 6 1/3 innings.

Francisco Rodriguez relieved with two on in the ninth and retired three straight batters for the save. He gave up an RBI groundout to Jacob May before catcher James McCann leaned over the railing in front of the Tigers dugout to snag Tyler Saladino's foul for the final out (see full recap).

Indians hold off Rangers to take opening series
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Carlos Santana led off with a home run, Carlos Carrasco struck out seven in his first start since breaking a bone in his right hand last season and the Cleveland Indians held on for a 4-3 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.

Carrasco (1-0) missed the playoffs for the AL champion Indians after getting struck on his hand by a line drive Sept. 17, then had some elbow discomfort this spring. The right-hander limited Texas to two runs and had one walk on 78 pitches over 5 2/3 innings.

Cody Allen allowed consecutive doubles by Nomar Mazara and Mike Napoli starting a 25-pitch ninth inning before striking out Rougned Odor, pinch-hitter Jurickson Profar and Joey Gallo for his second save. Allen struck out the side in the opener around a triple by Elvis Andrus.

Cleveland won the first two games to clinch the opening series against two-time defending AL West champions (see full recap).

Sabathia, Yankees blanks Rays, 5-0
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- CC Sabathia was sharp in his first start, Ronald Torreyes and Chase Headley homered and the New York Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-0 Tuesday night for their first victory this season.

Starting his 17th major league season and the final year of his Yankees contract, the 36-year-old Sabathia (1-0) limited the team he has faced more than any other to three singles and a pair of walks in five innings.

Five relievers finished the five-hitter. Dellin Betances retired Logan Morrison on a bases-loaded grounder that ended the eighth inning and Aroldis Chapman, back with the Yankees after agreeing to an $86 million, five-year contract, threw a perfect ninth.

Traded to the Chicago Cubs by New York last July, Chapman reached 100 mph on four of 14 pitches, including his last, when Daniel Robertson struck out as his bat went flying into the third-base dugout and into the seats (see full recap).

Best of MLB: Aaron Judge hits mammoth homer in Yankees' win over Mets

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Best of MLB: Aaron Judge hits mammoth homer in Yankees' win over Mets

NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge launched a titanic homer, Didi Gregorius snapped a seventh-inning tie with a two-run double and the New York Yankees beat the Mets 5-3 on Wednesday night for their third straight victory in the Subway Series.

After taking the first two matchups in the Bronx this week, the Yankees kept up their winning ways when the crosstown rivalry shifted to Queens. Judge enjoyed his first game at Citi Field, hitting a solo drive into the rarely reached third deck in left.

Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes never even budged as Judge's AL-leading 37th home run, projected at 457 feet, soared way over his head.

The rookie slugger also singled and scored on Chase Headley's sacrifice fly. But he struck out in the ninth inning to extend a dubious streak: Judge has fanned in 33 consecutive games, three shy of the record for a position player set by Adam Dunn from 2011-2012 (see full recap).

Alonso, Rzepczynski help seal Mariners’ victory
SEATTLE -- Recently acquired Yonder Alonso hit his first homer for Seattle and drove in three runs, and Marc Rzepczynski struck out Chris Davis with the bases loaded to end the Mariners' 7-6 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday.

Alonso, acquired in a trade with Oakland on Aug. 6, hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning, his 23rd of the season. He added an RBI single during a three-run fifth and also singled in the seventh.

Leonys Martin opened the sixth with his third home run to put Seattle up 7-4.

Seattle closer Edwin Diaz came on in the ninth and walked the first three hitters. Manny Machado followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 7-5, but Martin prevented an extra-base hit with a sensational diving catch in right field.

Diaz struck out Jonathan Schoop, but then hit both Trey Mancini and Mark Trumbo to force in another run. Rzepczynski relieved and fanned Davis on three pitches for his first save.

Tony Zych (6-3) pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings in relief. Ubaldo Jimenez (5-8) allowed six runs in 4 1/3 innings (see full recap).

Gordon’s single in 9th lifts Royals over A’s
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Alex Gordon hit a go-ahead RBI single in the top of the ninth after Oakland tied it in the bottom of the eighth, and the Kansas City Royals beat the Athletics 7-6 on Wednesday.

Alcides Escobar doubled to start the ninth against Blake Treinen (1-1), matching his season high with three hits. Then Gordon delivered his second run-scoring single of the series finale.

Oakland's Matt Chapman hit a tying two-run homer in the eighth against Brandon Maurer (1-1), who wound up the winner.

Lorenzo Cain hit a two-run homer in the fourth and Danny Duffy struck out eight over five innings but the Royals couldn't hold a late lead again before holding on -- a day after squandering a four-run advantage in a 10-8 defeat.

Cain added a key RBI single in the eighth for the Royals, who began the day tied with Minnesota six games behind AL Central-leading Cleveland (see full recap).

Nick Pivetta takes his 'demotion' in stride after putting up big strikeout totals

Nick Pivetta takes his 'demotion' in stride after putting up big strikeout totals

SAN DIEGO — Odubel Herrera has missed the Phillies' last two games with a sore left hamstring and the team could sure use his bat.

Will he be available Thursday in San Francisco?

Herrera was asked about his condition as he hurried out of the clubhouse and off to the team bus after Wednesday's 3-0 loss to the San Diego Padres (see Instant Replay).

"Better," he said, indicating some improvement.

Could he play in the next day or so?

"Maybe," he said.

As a contingency, the Phillies will add a position player — Brock Stassi makes sense — to their roster for Thursday's game while they continue to evaluate Herrera. If Herrera can't go in a couple of days, he could end up on the disabled list. He injured the hamstring late in Monday night's game. He improved his hitting streak to 17 games earlier that night.

In order to add a player to the roster without placing Herrera on the DL, the Phillies had to clear a roster spot. They took the unusual step of sending Nick Pivetta to Triple A moments after he struck out a career-high 11 batters on Wednesday.

It appears to be simply a procedural move. The Phillies play a doubleheader Tuesday against Miami and will be allowed to add a 26th man that day. Ordinarily, a player sent to the minors could not return for 10 days unless he replaces an injured player. By rule, Pivetta could come back and be the 26th man on Tuesday. He then would have to return to Triple A to complete the 10-day stint in the minors. The bottom line is he might not even miss a turn in the major-league rotation.

"With Herrera on the blocks, not knowing where he's at, we need a position player," Mackanin said. "With the doubleheader coming up, we have the option of adding an extra pitcher on the 22nd. So that's the reasoning there."

Pivetta took the move in stride.

"It is what it is," the 24-year-old righty said. "I know about as much as you guys. I'm going to go down and work hard. It will be fine. I'm going to be back up eventually. So we'll just keep moving day by day there."

Pivetta struck out eight of the first nine batters he faced on Wednesday. When the ninth batter, rival pitcher Clayton Richard, came to the plate, he asked catcher Cameron Rupp a question.

"Did he strike everybody out?" Richard asked.

Richard struck out, but eventually got the upper hand. He pitched a three-hit shutout to finish off a San Diego sweep (see story).

"It looked to me like Pivetta was going to have a Kerry Wood performance today," Mackanin said. "Eight strikeouts in the first three innings. He ended up with 11. He threw a lot of good secondary stuff for strikes, which is one of the goals we're working on for him to do. He carried it for a while. He needs to understand how to continue to carry that through five, six, seven or even eight innings. 

"He's a young pitcher. It's his first year in the big leagues. He's going to get it. He's going to be good. He needs to learn how to sustain that through more than five or six innings. That's when you get to be a real solid starter."