Gather 'round, because it's time to recap the most recent diamond doings. Roll Call starts at smoky Tropicana Field, where Carl Crawford(notes) got the best of new Orioles closer Mike Gonzalez(notes), giving the Tampa Bay Rays a victory on a belated opening day. Not only that, Crawford skillfully avoided falling victim to everybody's least favorite postgame dessert ritual.
Game of the Day: Rays 4, Orioles 3
Welcome to the season, boys! Nice of you to join us. The last teams to celebrate opening day made up for the delay with a humdinger of a finish, one that recaptured the taste of the Rays' 2008 World Series season.
Protecting a one-run lead, Gonzalez struck out Pat Burrell(notes) to start the bottom of the ninth. Sean Rodriguez(notes) lined a single to left, then Joe Maddon's Glasses went to work, inserting pinch hitter Kelly Shoppach(notes) — who nearly ended the game with a drive off the top of the wall in left-center.
With runners in scoring position, Yankees prospect Carl Crawford lined a two-run double to right that sent Tropicana up for grabs.
"To come back and win like that," Crawford said. "This is all we did in '08."
C.C.'s most impressive move was yet to come.
Crawford wasn't even through his first reply, when, from nowhere:
The crafty catcher (that's part of his face on the right), with towel full of shaving cream at the ready, made a move for Crawford. C.C.'s ninja skills served him well. Where'd he go?
"He tried to get me but I was too quick for him," Crawford said.
Unharmed, and with the threat level color reduced to mauve, Crawford continued the interview. So, Carl, what were you thinking when you came to the plate?
"We have this thing called 'GTMI' — I don't want to say what it means on camera ... But that's all I was thinking about, trying to get the runner in there," Crawford said.
Our BLS codebreakers have determined that GTMI = Get. The. (Man). In.
And "Man" might actually stand for some kind of adult slang.
That's deep: Evan Longoria(notes), he of the Bourne-like cap search, launched a 473-foot home run, the third-longest in Trop history, into the upper deck in left. ... The O's countered with three, count 'em, solo homers against James Shields(notes) — via "The" Adam Jones(notes), "Uses Deadly Force" Luke Scott(notes) and Matt "Eat Your" Wieters.
* * *
These Games Happened Too:
Yankees 6, Red Sox 4: New Bosox shortstop Marco Scutaro(notes) ruined everything with an errant throw that loaded the bases for Nick Johnson(notes), whose walk pushed ahead the go-ahead run home in the eighth.
Joba Chamberlain(notes) faced two batters and struck out both. His slider to J.D. Drew(notes) was particularly filthy. Note to Joe Girardi: Quit messing around and just start the eighth every time with Joba. Or even the seventh. That is all.
Athletics 2, Mariners 1 (10 inn.): Do you prefer chicken or eggs? Was this good pitching or inept offense? The A's Dallas Braden(notes) struck out 10 and the M's Ian Snell(notes) was solid, too. But these lineups ... not so good, Al.
Twins 5, Angels 3: Epic night in Anaheim. Not distracted by Bert Blyleven's birthday or setting the world record for most Snuggies warn at a ballgame, Twins closer Jon Rauch(notes) looked like a guy who had logged 300 career saves. He didn't even mess around for one pitch — throwing 11 of 16 for strikes — in the ninth. He will get another neck tattoo to celebrate.
Wolf received raucous cheers each time he struck out a batter, a sharp difference from last year, when most Milwaukee fans were howling in disgust at a rotation that compiled a majors-worst 5.37 ERA.
At the risk of stereotyping, I'm thinking it's beer goggles.