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Big League Stew

The Juice: Bo Jackson opens season with strike, White Sox and Royals pitchers take it from there

David Brown
Big League Stew

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(AP)

The Juice returns for season No. 6! It's almost eligible for free-agency! Stop by daily for news from the action, along with great photos, stats, video highlights and more.

Bo just knows, OK? The first pitch for the first Juice of the season is an actual first pitch — a ceremonial one, tossed by none other than Bo Jackson at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago. Not familiar with Bo? Oh, lemme tell ya about Bo Jackson. He's only the the greatest athlete in the history of sports, according to many, and he played with the Kansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox and the Los Angeles Angels in the 1980s and 1990s. Not to mention, he was famous for also being a running back for the Los Angeles Raiders (they've since moved back to Oakland), for running up the outfield fence and for knowing how to play the guitar like Bo Diddley.

After Bo threw a strike to old teammate Robin Ventura, the White Sox and Royals threw many more strikes. Chris Sale just narrowly outpitched James Shields — a solo home run by Tyler Flowers was the difference — and Chicago's bullpen finished for a 1-0 victory.

[Also: Robinson Cano replaces agent with Jay-Z | Bodes well for Yankees]

Bow to the King: At any given moment, Felix Hernandez can be the best pitcher in the league. He's definitely paid like it, and he was worth it Monday for the Seattle Mariners. King Felix struck out eight over 7 2/3 innings in a 2-0 victory against the Oakland Athletics. He also was handing out Rolexes, at least to former teammate John Jaso, for helping him with that perfect game a season ago. A king who spreads the wealth will be most beloved. Intestinally challenged Franklin Gutierrez came up with the big hit, a two-run single against Brett Anderson, for the only offense a King could need. From the Associated Press:

Hernandez will try for career win No. 100 on Saturday in Chicago.

''Shhhhh, don't say it, not yet,'' he said. ''It's going to be special, it's going to be good to finally get to 100. I'm going to try to do it in my second start.''

Gritty gritty bang-bang: The Arizona Diamondbacks remade themselves in the image of gritty manager Kirk Gibson in the offseason and so far, so good. Right-hander Ian Kennedy struck out eight over seven innings and the offense compiled 15 hits, including seven doubles, in a 6-2 victory against the St. Louis Cardinals. Right-hander Adam Wainwright allowed 11 hits for Team Fredbird, but manager Mike Matheny said other signs were bueno for Waino. Gerardo Parra had three of the doubles for the D-backs. He likely leads the league in doubles, as broadcaster Bob Brenly said.

''I tried not to hurt myself with my own thoughts." — Chris Sale, on staying calm while making his first career opening-day start.

[Also: Yankees keep Alex Rodriguez at arm's length as season opens]

Lucky 13: As a catcher, Chris Iannetta has more control than others over what happens in the course of a baseball game. So, he decided the 13th inning was an appropriate time to affect some change. His bases-loaded single put the Los Angeles Angels ahead with two outs, and they held on for a 3-1 victory against the Cincinnati Reds.

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(AP)

The White Sox and Royals weren't the only team to bring out an old guy to do stuff. Chipper "Larry Wayne" Jones took time out from doing home improvements to throw out the first pitch at the Atlanta Braves opener. Chipper said watching a ballgame from a suite is "weird" and that the overall experience was the toughest day in retirement he's had yet. And this was his first ballgame beer. But he's not coming back to play, no matter how much the Yankees beg.

More scores:

Bryce Harper 2, Marlins 0

Red Sox 8, Yankees 2

Mets 11, Padres 2

Cubs 3, Pirates 1

Tigers 4, Twins 2

Brewers 5, Rockies 4 (10 inn.)

Clayton Kershaw 4, Giants 0

Braves 7, Phillies 5

• Justin Verlander, fresh off signing his $180 million contract, threw 91 pitches over five shutout innings in 35-degree temperatures to help beat the Twins.

• Washington's Stephen Strasburg retired 19 straight Marlins between a leadoff single by Juan Pierre and a seventh-inning double by Giancarlo Stanton.

• Phillies lefty Cole Hamels allowed three home runs to the Braves; Freddie Freeman, Justin Upton and Dan Uggla took him deep.

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