Opening Day arrived. Major League Baseball's regular season has begun, with a near-full slate of games on Thursday.The first real game action of 2018 brought along with it a plethora of "first" milestones of the year. From first pitch to first hit to first strikeout to first home run --
Opening Day arrived. Major League Baseball's regular season has begun, with a near-full slate of games on Thursday.
The first real game action of 2018 brought along with it a plethora of "first" milestones of the year. From first pitch to first hit to first strikeout to first home run -- and a whole lot more -- MLB.com kept track of the biggest firsts around baseball.
• Did you know? Facts from Opening Day 2018
Here are the first feats of the 2018 regular season.
First pitch: Jose Urena (Marlins) to Ian Happ (Cubs)
The first pitch of the 2018 season commenced the year with one amazing start. Urena pumped in a fastball to Happ, and the Cubs' leadoff man crushed it out to deep right field for a home run. With 2018 bringing the first domestic season opener ever played as early as March 29, this was the earliest Opening Day first pitch ever delivered on U.S. soil.
First home run: Happ
First pitch, first home run. What an incredible way to open the season. With the long ball, Happ became the first player to homer on the first pitch his team saw in a season since Kaz Matsui did so for the Mets in his MLB debut on Opening Day 2004. But Matsui wasn't the first batter of the MLB season overall -- the last batter to lead off the MLB season with a home run was Ray Lankford for the Cardinals in 1994. But that wasn't on the first pitch of the year. So has there been a player who homered on the very first pitch of the MLB season? In fact, there has been. Dwight Evans did it in 1986 -- off Hall of Famer Jack Morris.
First hit: Happ
Happ took care of three firsts all at once.
First strikeout: Urena
Urena buckled down to notch the first strikeout of the MLB season, spinning in a slider that Cubs catcher Willson Contreras whiffed on for strike three. That strikeout doubled as the first out recorded in 2018.
First strikeout of the side: Noah Syndergaard (Mets)
Syndergaard used his overpowering stuff to blow away the Cardinals in the third inning in Flushing, sending them back to the dugout 1-2-3. He caught Carlos Martinez looking at a 97.8 mph fastball, struck out Cards leadoff man William Fowler on a 92.3 mph slider and finished things off by whiffing Tommy Pham with another slider at 92.5 mph.
First 10-strikeout game: Syndergaard
Thor had racked up his 10th strikeout of Opening Day by the fifth inning, when he pumped a 97.4 mph sinker under Pham's bat. The group of pitchers to collect double-digit strikeouts on Opening Day is full of aces -- the three who did so in 2017 were Justin Verlander, Madison Bumgarner and Carlos Martinez. The only other Mets pitcher with double-digit strikeouts in a season opener was the great Pedro Martinez, who struck out 12 Reds on Opening Day 2005.
First 100-mph pitch:Jordan Hicks (Cardinals)
The first pitch to hit triple digits on the radar gun came in the Mets-Cardinals game -- but it wasn't from the right arm of Syndergaard. Instead, it was Hicks, who was making his MLB debut. The Cardinals' No. 7 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, Hicks hit 100.3 mph on the very first pitch of his Major League career. He later reached 101.6 mph in the inning.
First save: Alex Colome (Rays)
Colome picked up his first save of 2018 after Tampa Bay stormed back to erase a 4-0 deficit and beat the Red Sox, 6-4. The 29-year-old right-hander led the Majors with 47 saves in 2017. He now has 85 career saves, all coming since the start of the 2016 season.
First "rocket" home run:Giancarlo Stanton (Yankees)
Welcome to the Yankees, Giancarlo. The reigning home run king went deep in his very first at-bat as a Yankee, and wow did he crush the baseball. Stanton's home run had an exit velocity of 117.3 mph, according to Statcast™. And it was to the opposite field. In fact, it was the hardest opposite-field home run since Statcast™ started tracking in 2015. Stanton gave an encore presentation in the ninth, when he smashed another homer, this one with an exit velocity of 109.4 mph to center field, traveling 434 feet.
First multi-homer game: Matt Davidson (White Sox)
Davidson hit solo homers in the fourth and fifth innings of Chicago's 14-7 victory over Kansas City, becoming the first player with a multi-home run game this season. He wasn't done, however: Davidson became the fourth player to hit three homers on Opening Day when he belted a three-run shot in the eighth.
First hit by a two-way player: Shohei Ohtani (Angels)
Ohtani made his much-hyped Major League debut as the Angels' designated hitter on Opening Day against the A's. And in his first at-bat, he notched his first MLB hit -- a ground-ball single into right field that had an exit velocity of 102.1 mph, according to Statcast™. Ohtani will make his debut as a pitcher on Sunday.
First walk-off home run: Adam Jones (Orioles)
Jones smashed the first pitch he saw in the 11th inning from new Twins closer Fernando Rodney for a screaming liner over the wall in left field at Camden Yards to give the O's their third consecutive Opening Day walk-off victory, and the second straight won on a homer. When the ball landed in the stands, it also improved Buck Showalter's Opening Day record as Orioles manager to 8-0.
First inside-the-park home run: Eduardo Nunez (Red Sox)
In the second inning of Boston's season opener against the Rays at Tropicana Field, Nunez ripped a line drive toward the left-center-field gap. It was placed perfectly between Kevin Kiermaier and Denard Span, and the ball split the two outfielders as they tried to avoid a collision. Nunez raced around the bases in just 15.87 seconds, the fastest home-to-home time by a Red Sox player since Statcast™ started tracking in 2015.
First home run robbery: Craig Gentry (Orioles)
With the Orioles opening their season against the Twins at Camden Yards, Gentry made a tremendous leaping catch to rob Eddie Rosario of a homer in the second inning. He went over the top of the right-field wall and brought back the long fly to keep the game scoreless.
First 5-Star catch: Kevin Kiermaier (Rays)
Kiermaier is one of the truly elite defensive center fielders in the game, and he showed it immediately on Opening Day. On the very first pitch of the Rays' opener against the Red Sox, Mookie Betts drove the ball to the deepest part of left-center field. Kiermaier somehow ran it down, making an incredible leaping catch at the wall. The play had a catch probability of just 6 percent, according to Statcast™, making it a 5-Star catch -- the most exceptional level of defensive play, and the first of its kind in 2018.
First double: Jason Heyward (Cubs)
In the top of the third inning in Miami, Heyward roped a two-base hit into the right-field corner off Urena. That was the first non-home-run extra-base hit of the 2018 season. It also marked an encouraging start for Heyward, who has gone through his share of offensive woes since joining the Cubs.
First triple: Derek Dietrich (Marlins)
Dietrich sparked a big third inning for Miami with a leadoff triple off Jonathan Lester, the Majors' first three-bagger of the year. Dietrich drove a fly ball deep to the opposite field, and it ricocheted off the left-field wall just out of the reach of Kyle Schwarber. Dietrich raced around to third and would come in to score a few batters later.
First stolen base: Jay Bruce (Mets)
Of all the players who could've stolen the first base of the Major League season, Bruce must have had some of the longest odds. He had exactly one steal in all of 2017, and he'd never swiped a bag as a Met. But he snuck one on Yadier Molina and the Cardinals in the fifth inning on Thursday, making him the unlikely winner of this race.
First walk: Kristopher Bryant (Cubs)
The Cubs' superstar third baseman drew the first free pass of 2018 after working the count full against Urena as the second batter of the game. Bryant has always taken plenty of walks, and he had a career-high 95 in 2017, which helped him post a personal-best .409 on-base percentage.
First intentional walk: Javier Baez (Cubs)
Baez isn't known for walking much on his own -- he's about as big a free-swinger as they come -- but he was issued an intentional walk in the third inning on Thursday, making him the first player of the year to receive the honors. The Cubs had runners on second and third with one out, and the pitcher batting behind Baez, so the Marlins put him on first to load the bases for Jonathan Lester. It worked out, as Lester grounded into an inning-ending double play.
First hit-by-pitch: Anthony Rizzo (Cubs)
The third batter to step to the plate in 2018, Rizzo took a Urena fastball to the front shoulder and headed to first base. Rizzo is always among the Major League hit-by-pitch leaders -- he was plunked an MLB-high 24 times in 2017 and also led the Majors with 30 hit-by-pitches in 2015.
First error: Jose Martinez (Cardinals)
At first, this looked like it might be the year's first double play. In the first inning at Citi Field, the Cardinals' first baseman fielded a ground ball off the bat of the Mets' Asdrubal Cabrera, wheeled and fired to second ... but sailed the throw into center field. The miscue led directly to the Mets' first run as Brandon Nimmo came around to score on the play. St. Louis actually did turn the first double play of 2018 on the very next batter, Todd Frazier, who grounded into an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play.
David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.
Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.