The 2016 season got underway Sunday afternoon at PNC Park in Pittsburgh as the Pirates defeated the Cardinals, 4-1, in a clash between the National League Central rivals. It was the start of a nationally televised tripleheader and the beginning of a day of 2016 firsts.The Bucs' Francisco Liriano delivered
The 2016 season got underway Sunday afternoon at PNC Park in Pittsburgh as the Pirates defeated the Cardinals, 4-1, in a clash between the National League Central rivals. It was the start of a nationally televised tripleheader and the beginning of a day of 2016 firsts.
The Bucs' Francisco Liriano delivered the year's first pitch, and the left-hander would get the first win of the season. Over six dominating innings, Liriano scattered three hits and fanned 10.
Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki belted the first home run of the year, a two-run shot off Rays reliever Ryan Webb in the opening game in the American League, a 5-3 Toronto victory. It was the fourth career Opening Day homer for Tulowitzki, who also went deep with the Rockies in 2009, '12 and '13.
Toronto closer Roberto Osuna notched the first save, preserving his club's win over the Rays. He took over after starter Marcus Stroman surrendered back-to-back hits, including a solo homer to Corey Dickerson, in the ninth and allowed one hit while striking out two batters.
Pirates first baseman John Jaso made a terrific defensive play to record the initial out of the season -- a backhanded stop and toss to get Cardinals leadoff man Matt Carpenter. A converted catcher, Jaso didn't waste any time getting acclimated to his new position.
Matt Holliday went down looking against Liriano to end the top of the first inning for the first strikeout of the year. It didn't take long for a pitcher to strike out the side, either, as Liriano accomplished that feat in the second inning.
Andrew McCutchen was the first batter hit by a pitch, when Adam Wainwright's breaking ball grazed his left arm. The play also resulted in the Cardinals issuing the season's first challenge. The call on the field was upheld.
David Freese recorded the first hit of the year with a single back up the middle, and Gregory Polanco collected the first extra-base hit -- a double to right. Francisco Cervelli notched the first triple, a bullet to left-center.
Oddly enough, the first RBI belonged to a pitcher. Liriano got the Pirates on the board first with a single to score Polanco.
Cardinals left fielder Tommy Pham was the first player to leave with an injury, coming out of the game after the first inning because of an oblique issue.
Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer drew the first walk. And the first bunt belonged to Wainwright on a play that resulted in the first error -- an errant throw to second base by Pirates catcher Cervelli. One batter later, the Pirates turned the first double play of the year.
Cardinals center fielder Randal Grichuk recorded the first outfield assist, nabbing Polanco trying to advance to second base on Josh Harrison's sacrifice fly, also the first of the big league season.
Cervelli was the first to be picked off and caught stealing, as the Cardinals executed the season's first rundown to prevent him from stealing home.
Jeremy Hazelbaker was the first to make his Major League debut in 2016, striking out for Wainwright in the seventh. Seung Hwan Oh then became the first pitcher to debut, striking out two in a scoreless inning of relief for the Cardinals.
Rays ace Chris Archer delivered the first pitch in the AL against the visiting Blue Jays. Archer was also responsible for the season's first wild pitch.
The first one-run game was won by the Royals in their World Series rematch with the Mets. New York rallied for three runs in the eighth and then put two runners on against K.C. closer Wade Davis, but the right-hander struck out David Wright and Yoenis Cespedes to preserve the victory.
**Austin Laymance** is a reporter for MLB.com.