Jones lifts Pirates over Giants, 6-5
SAN FRANCISCO — Garrett Jones started the game as Pittsburgh's offensive star. He ended it as an unlikely defensive hero.
Jones had three hits and two RBIs, including the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the San Francisco Giants, 6-5, last night.
Akinori Iwamura and Andy LaRoche homered for the Pirates, who ended a six-game losing streak at AT&T Park. It was their first victory in San Francisco since September 2008.
Evan Meek (1-0) pitched two scoreless innings for the win and Octavio Dotel held on for his second save in two opportunities.
"That's not the way I had it planned but it worked out," Dotel said.
Eugenio Velez hit a two-run homer off Dotel in the ninth but the closer responded by retiring three straight, getting Pablo Sandoval to line out to the 6-foot-5 Jones, who moved to first base from right field to replace starter Jeff Clement, to end the game.
"That was a great play," Pirates manager John Russell said. "The reaction on that ball was really good. It was hit hard; a nice way to end the game."
Jones said he had trouble picking up the ball off Sandoval's bat.
"That was a shot," said Jones. "I just barely saw it off the bat and I just had to get the full extension and luckily it went right in the glove."
Matt Cain allowed three runs and five hits in six innings for the Giants, who lost for just the second time in eight games. Cain retired the last 10 batters he faced.
"I was happy with how I ended," Cain said. "Mechanically I was trying to find some things early and getting myself into trouble. I put the guys in a hole through the first three and they did a great job of battling back."
Paul Maholm pitched five-plus innings for the Pirates, yielding three runs and eight hits.
"I never got into a perfect rhythm but that lineup is a challenge," Maholm said. "There are no easy outs; even Cain has a couple of hits off of me so it wasn't like I was extremely comfortable."
Pittsburgh went in front for good in the eighth. With one out and a runner on first, Lastings Milledge hit a comebacker to Jeremy Affeldt but shortstop Edgar Renteria couldn't handle the throw to second. Jones then grounded a single into right field to give the Pirates a 4-3 lead.
"That's an aberration more than anything," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Renteria's error. "It's not something you're going to see too often. It just didn't stick in his glove."
LaRoche homered with one out in the ninth and Iwamura added an RBI single.
"We definitely needed that after a couple of tough losses," Jones said. "We got some big hits when we needed them and scored just enough to win."
DODGERS 9, DIAMONDBACKS 5
Manny Ramirez homered for the first time this season, helping Los Angeles beat Arizona to win its home opener for the third consecutive year.
Casey Blake hit a two-run drive, Matt Kemp added a solo shot and Andre Ethier hit a three-run homer for the Dodgers, who beat San Francisco 11-1 in their home opener last year.
REDS 10, MARLINS 8
Joey Votto drove in the go-ahead run with a two-out single in the top of the 11th inning, helping Cincinnati beat Florida in extra innings for the second night in a row.
Jonny Gomes and Ryan Hanigan hit three-run homers for the Reds. Brandon Phillips had four hits, including an RBI single in the 11th that made it 10-8.
ROCKIES 11, METS 3
Greg Smith (1-1) won for the first time in 19 months, riding a six-run third inning as host Colorado routed John Maine (0-1) and New York.
Smith (1-1) struck out eight over seven innings, allowing two runs and six hits. He also collected his first career RBIs with a run-scoring double in the third and a fielder's choice groundout in the seventh. Maine tied a career high by allowing eight runs on seven hits in just three innings.
BLUE JAYS 4, WHITE SOX 2
Ricky Romero lost his bid for a no-hitter in the top of the eighth when former teammate Alex Rios homered in host Toronto's win over Chicago.
Romero struck out 12 and was in complete control until hitting A.J. Pierzynski with a pitch to start the eighth. Rios followed with a drive to deep left. Dave Stieb pitched the only no-hitter in Toronto history in 1990.
TIGERS 6, ROYALS 5
Carlos Guillen's two-run double capped a six-run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning as Detroit pulled off another big comeback.
Jose Guillen hit his fourth home run in three games as the Royals took a 5-0 lead against Dontrelle Willis. But just like Sunday, when the Tigers fell behind 5-0 to Cleveland, they recovered to win.
RAYS 8, ORIOLES 6
Carlos Pena hit a three-run homer off Matt Albers (0-1) in the top of the 10th inning, helping Tampa Bay extend Baltimore's early season swoon.
It was the fifth straight loss for the Orioles, whose 1-7 start is their worst since they opened the 1988 season with 21 straight defeats.
MARINERS 3, A'S 0
Doug Fister (1-1) spaced three hits over eight innings, David Aardsma earned his third save, and Milton Bradley hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to power Seattle over Oakland.
Jose Lopez began the eighth with his third hit. Then Brad Ziegler (0-2) walked Mike Sweeney. After showing bunt on the first pitch, Bradley golfed a low pitch five rows into the right-field bleachers.
Blue Jays: Toronto agreed to a $10 million, four-year contract with Cuban shortstop prospect Adeiny Hechavarria, a right-handed hitter who turns 21 tomorrow. He is expected to report to extended spring training before starting his minor league career.
Mariners: Seattle left-hander Cliff Lee has sailed through another bullpen session and is expected to make his season debut on May 1 or 2. The 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner has been out with a strained abdomen since March 15.
Marlins: Florida's Jorge Cantu singled home a run in last night's game against Cincinnati to become the first player since 1921 to have at least one hit and one RBI in the first eight games of the season. The only other player with such a streak was George Kelly of the New York Giants in 1921.
Rays: Cuban outfielder-first baseman Leslie Anderson and Tampa Bay reached agreement on a four-year contract worth a minimum of $1,725,000. Anderson was assigned to extended spring training at the team's facility in Port Charlotte.