Well that is more like it. As bad as the opener was on Friday was as good as this game was on Saturday. The difference between the two games was night and day. I cannot agree with this heading more. Yes it was only one start, but what a start it was. Greinke was fantastic going seven extremely strong innings allowing only three hits while striking out seven. Homer friendly Miller Park lived up to its reputation as Corey Hart went deep twice and driving in three runs. Rickie Weeks also went deep for the Crew.
As different as the first two games were for the Crew the same cannot be said for the Cubs. After blowing a late lead in their opening game of the season the Cubs gave away another on Saturday afternoon to the Nationals. The Cubs again took a lead into the 8th inning but, like their opener, that is when the wheels fell off. The Nats scored five runs off Kerry Wood, Carlos Marmol, and Shawn Camp in the inning, turning a one run deficit into a three run victory. Yes, it's early, but the season is shaping up to be a long one on the North Side of Chicago.
The young Astros line-up got to the ageless wonder Jamie Moyer early, going ahead on a Jordan Schafer solo shot in the bottom of the first. J.D. Martinez added to the Astros' lead in the fourth by hitting a two-run home run. Jordan Schafer drove in a fourth run off of Moyer with a Sac Bunt in the fifth. The relief corps for the Rockies fared little better allowing the Astros to score a run each in the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eight innings. Colorado got on the board in the eight on Michael Cuddyer's first Home Run of the year. They added two more runs in the top of the ninth but it wasn't enough as they fell to the Astros 7-3. Astros starter Lucas Harrell went seven innings of three hit ball while striking out four.
After getting off to a slow start to begin the season the Marlins' bats finally work up Saturday against the Reds. Omar Infante, John Buck, and Hanley Ramirez all homered and Giancarlo Stanton went 3-for-5 and drove in three runs for the Marlins to power the offense in support of starter Ricky Nolasco who went eight innings allowing three runs on six hits while striking out five. Joey Votto and Zach Cozart both homered for the Reds. Mat Latos picked up the loss in his Reds debut.
The Pirates and Phillies needed extras to decide the outcome of the middle game of their opening series. In the bottom of the 10th the Pirates had the go ahead run at third with one out after Rod Barajas hit a leadoff Double off the center field wall. With two outs, and runners on the corners, Alex Presley broke his bat on a dribbler to Shortstop. He hustled down the line and beat the throw by Jimmy Rollins allowing the winning run to cross the plate.
Here are the NL Central standings on Easter Sunday:
The Brewers will look to take the series from the Cards as lefty Randy Wolf leads the Crew against Lance Lynn the rest of the Cardinals line-up. Game time at Miller Park is 1:10 p.m. CDT. If large family gatherings are not your thing thankfully baseball offers an acceptable excuse to remove yourself from the festivities.
Bronson Arroyo and the Reds conclude their opening series against a familiar face as Carlos Zambrano is scheduled to make his Marlins debut in the series finale. First pitch is scheduled for 12:10 p.m. CDT.
The Pirates and starter James McDonald look to take the series against Vance Worley and the cross-state Phillies. The action from PNC Park begins at 12:35 p.m. CDT.
Bud Norris takes the hill for the Astros in the rubber game of their series against the Rockies. Juan Nicasio, who is making his first regular season start since a line drive to the head broke his neck, counters for the Rockies. The game from Houston gets under way at 1:05 p.m. CDT.
Wisconsin native Jordan Zimmermann makes his first start of the season for the Nationals as they take on the Cubs at Wrigley Field at 1:20 p.m. CDT. Jeff Samardzija, who pitched as a reliever last season for the Cubs, makes his first big league start since September of 2010.