Big League Stew

The Juice: Rowand repeats 2010 feat in Giants wild home opener

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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Rowand

Nine innings, nine items. Ladies and gentleman of the Stew, your latest serving of morning Juice.

1. Torture: It wouldn't be opening day at AT&T Park without a large dose of San Francisco Giants style torture. And believe me, there's no better description of what that means than watching the typically free-swinging Ryan Theriot take a 12 pitch at-bat against Brian Wilson, before driving in the tying and go-ahead runs in the ninth.

"It's obvious we're not retiring torture," manager Bruce Bochy said with a grin. "This was a very emotional day, all day. And the game was an emotional roller coaster. We were looking at a tough loss there and these guys battled back. It was quite a ballgame for our home opener."

But much like most of 2010, the four and a half hours of anguish and torment were worth it for the 42,048 in attendance. After rallying off St. Louis closer Ryan Franklin to force extra innings, Aaron Rowand delivered his second consecutive home opening walk-off hit, giving the Giants a 5-4 win over the Cardinals in 12 innings.

2. Best worst-case scenario: It's doubtful any Red Sox fans would trade six losses just so their first win could come over the Yankees in their home opener. But with that unexpected circumstance presenting itself to Red Sox Nation, it likely made their 9-6 victory over their rivals all the more satisfying. By the way, if someone finds Phil Hughes' velocity, please return it. Not funny anymore.

3. No Manny, no problem: Hours after Manny Ramirez shocked us with his retirement from baseball, the Tampa Bay Rays offense shocked us even more by unretiring from their early season funk in a 9-7 win over the White Sox. Alright, so it took a little assistance from Chicago's defense to open the flood gates. That doesn't make Dan Johnson's three-run ninth inning homer off Matt Thornton — which gave Tampa Bay its first lead of the season — any less impressive or important.

4. The Big 2,500: Chipper Jones likes the big stage. With former manager Bobby Cox in attendance, and Phillies second ace in command Cliff Lee on the mound, Jones made sure the spotlight shined on him one more time in Atlanta's 6-3 victory.

After clearing the bases against Lee in the fourth inning with career hit number 2,499, Jones turned right around and collected hit number 2,500 off of Kyle Kendrick two innings later. Chipper's odds of reaching 3,000 seem pretty long at this point, but he does join Eddie Murray as the only switch-hitters to reach the 2,500 hit milestone. {YSP:MORE}

5. Yes way, Jose: Here's a crazy stat: Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Jose Tabata entered play tied for the most hits in baseball since last year's All-Star game. That total increased by two, including a 14th inning walk-off double giving the Pirates a 4-3 win over the offensively inefficient Colorado Rockies.

6. Well played, Gardy: Ron Gardenhire's decision to move Joe Mauer up to second in his order paid off on Friday night. Mauer delivered an eighth inning RBI single from his new spot, spoiling Brett Anderson's gem and lifting his Twins to a 2-1 triumph over the A's.

7. Hanley hobbled: One day after Minnesota's Tsuyoshi Nishioka fractured his fibula standing tall on a double play turn, Hanley Ramirez lay on the ground writhing in pain after Houston's Bill Hall's takeout slide buckled his left leg. It looked just as bad upon first look and several replays, but early word says Hanley is day-to-day with a bruised shin just above the ankle. Hanley's Florida Marlins teammates got him a get-well soon present, rallying in the late innings for a 4-3 win over the Astros.

8. All not Wells: Vernon Wells' slow start continued as his Angels dropped a tough 3-2 decision to his former employers from Toronto. With his 0-for-4 performance at the plate, Wells saw his season average dip to .097. Alex Anthopoulous's smile just grew a little wider.

9. It's a draw: Well, not exactly. After four separate rain delays in San Diego — yes, that San Diego — well over three hours, the umpires decided to suspend play in the ninth inning with the Padres and Dodgers all tied at 2. The suspension of play was announced at 1:42 AM PT. Play will resume at 5:35 PM locally ahead of Saturday's scheduled game.

And yes, Vin Scully called the action from beginning to end.

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