Thursday's slate of action provided a wide spectrum of entertainment. The games included everything from a memorable first major league hit for Bobby Witt Jr., to an emotional return to the St. Louis Cardinals for Albert Pujols, and much more.
Friday will start with Red Sox vs. Yankees, one of MLB's most storied rivalries, bolstered by two of the league's best aces inNathan Eovaldi and Gerrit Cole. Robbie Ray, Walker Buehler and Sandy Alcantara are some of the other top pitchers to take the mound on day two.
Be sure to refresh this page early and often for our live updates and takeaways for teams playing their first games on Friday!
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1:05 p.m.: Red Sox (Nathan Eovaldi) at Yankees (Gerrit Cole)
1:10 p.m.: White Sox (Lucas Giolito) at Tigers (Eduardo Rodriguez) (ESPN+)
2:20 p.m.: Brewers (Brandon Woodruff) at Cubs (Justin Steele)
3:05 p.m.: Athletics (Frankie Montas) at Phillies (Aaron Nola)
3:10 p.m.: Orioles (John Means) at Rays (Shane McClanahan)
4:10 p.m.: Mariners (Robbie Ray) at Twins (Joe Ryan)
4:10 p.m.: Dodgers (Walker Buehler) at Rockies (Kyle Freeland)
4:35 p.m.: Marlins (Sandy Alcantara) at Giants (Logan Webb)
7:05 p.m.: Mets (Max Scherzer) at Nationals (Josiah Gray)
7:07 p.m.: Rangers (Jon Gray) at Blue Jays (Jose Berrios)
7:20 p.m.: Reds (Reiver Sanmartin) at Braves (Charlie Morton)
9:38 p.m.: Astros (Jake Odorizzi) at Angels (Reid Detmers)
9:40 p.m.: Padres (Sean Manaea) at Diamondbacks (Merrill Kelly)
Takeaways from Thursday's action
Diamondbacks defeat Padres 4-2: Game of the day? Easily. Heck, put this down for game of the year: SETH BEER HIT A WALK-OFF HOME RUN ON NATIONAL BEER DAY. Good luck topping that Shohei Ohtani or Vladimir Guerrero Jr. or Freddie Freeman or some of you hotshot rookies. Until there is a day named after you, you will not top what Beer did in giving the Diamondbacks a 4-2 win over the Padres with a dramatic three-run blast to right field in the bottom of the ninth.
Beer said when he woke up his fiancée told him it was National Beer Day. "I told her, 'It better be a good day then,'" he said. It was just the second career home run for the rookie designated hitter, who went 4-for-9 in a brief major league cameo in 2021. He gave the Diamondbacks a victory in which Yu Darvish had pitched six no-hit innings for the Padres. And get this: He's the first rookie to hit a walk-off home run on Opening Day in a game his team was trailing. Cheers. --David Schoenfield
Astros defeat Angels 3-1: Shohei Ohtani performed well, but the rest of his Angels teammates didn't do enough. Sound familiar? It turns out the 2022 season has begun similarly to the way the 2021 season unfolded for the Angels, who couldn't get anything going against Framber Valdez on Opening Day. But there's a clear bright side -- and that, of course, is Ohtani himself, who displayed impressive fastball command, threw a crisp slider and generally looked really good in his debut. Ohtani recorded 14 outs, allowed only one run and struck out nine batters before exiting with 80 pitches (Angels manager Joe Maddon wants to keep his starters around that number early on to make up for the shortened spring training). The 2021 season represented Ohtani's first full season as a pitcher in five years. As it progressed, his location and command noticeably improved. And that has clearly carried over into 2022. It's why some have dared to suggest he could be even better in 2022. -- Alden Gonzalez
Mets defeat Nationals 5-1: Tylor Megill drew the Opening Day start for the Mets after Jacob deGrom hurt his shoulder and Max Scherzer tweaked his hamstring, pushing his first start back to Friday. Megill is a 6-foot-7 right-hander, listed at 230 pounds, although as Mets announcer Ron Darling said, "He hasn't been 230 since high school." So he's a big dude and as you might expect, he throws some big cheese with an upper 90s fastball. He's not expected to be the Mets' ace or anything close to it, but the second-year right-hander has some serious breakout potential.
The biggest pitch of his night came in the third inning when the score was still 0-0 and the Nationals had runners at the corners with one out and the dangerous Juan Soto at the plate. Megill got ahead 1-2, Soto took a 98-mph fastball a hair or two off the plate, and then Megill blew a 97-mph heater past Soto. He got Nelson Cruz to ground out and then breezed through two more innings, finishing with five scoreless innings, six K's and no walks. If you play fantasy baseball, pick this guy up. -- David Schoenfield
Reds defeat Braves 6-3: The Reds might not have opened the season in their usual way -- at home, after a citywide party and parade through downtown Cincinnati -- but that didn't matter. A major reason for their success spoiling the Braves' banner-unveiling party at Truist Park was the work of starter Tyler Mahle. The right-hander struck out seven and gave up a lone unearned run in a rather strong 84-pitch, five-inning outing. For the start of April, it was certainly a commendable performance -- and one the Reds hope he can build upon.
Mahle also had the most impressive moment of the night. He ended the third inning by somehow snagging a comeback liner that left Marcell Ozuna's bat with a 104.5 mph exit velocity. As for the most impressive audio moment of the night? Hands down that belonged to Reds first baseman Joey Votto, who was miked up throughout the game for ESPN and had his share of fun interactions.-- Coley Harvey
Cardinals defeat Pirates 9-0: It was turn back the clock day at Busch Stadium: Albert Pujols, Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright were all in the starting lineup for the Cardinals for the first time since Sept. 9, 2010. While the Cardinals cruised to a 9-0 victory behind Wainwright's six scoreless innings and Tyler O'Neill 's five RBIs, it wasn't quite the storybook return to St. Louis for Pujols that everyone desired.
"He's back," intoned the Cardinals' PA announcer during pregame introductions and Cardinals fans gave Pujols a standing ovation as he hugged former Cardinals greats like Mark McGwire and Jim Edmonds. In his first at-bat, Pujols wiped away some tears as the fans chanted "Al-bert! Al-bert!" -- echoing the joyful chorus heard so many times during his initial 11 seasons with the Cardinals. He flew out to left field and would finish 0-for-5, twice reaching on errors.
Can he help the Cardinals? That's the risk in bringing an aging all-time great back. If he struggles, it puts rookie manager Ollie Marmol in a tough spot. Pujols started this game against a right-hander -- Marmol wasn't about to sit him on Opening Day -- but Pujols will primarily serve as the DH against left-handers. Let's hope there's enough juice left in the bat to help in that small role. --David Schoenfield
Royals defeat Guardians 3-1: Before today's Opening Day start, the last time Zack Greinke pitched for the Kansas City Royals was 12 years and more than 2,000 innings ago. As many things as age changes, it cannot rob Greinke of what's always been his greatest asset, even better than his fastball or slider or changeup: his mind. Greinke's approach to pitching, combined with the stuff of his youth, made him elite and will forge his path toward the Hall of Fame.
To see him on Thursday afternoon, carving up a Cleveland Guardians lineup in a 3-1 victory highlighted by top prospect (No. 2 on Kiley McDaniel's top 100 list) Bobby Witt Jr.'s go-ahead RBI double in the eighth inning, was to see a master craftsman making art in real time.
The radar gun doesn't light up as it once did, and the batters don't swing and miss as they used to, but Greinke, through location, sequencing and other tricks of the trade, still understands how to get outs. Some lineup will prove more difficult to traverse than others. One strikeout in 5 2/3 innings is not a long-term recipe for success, even with Kansas City's phenomenal defense. And yet Greinke, now 38, left to a huge ovation in his return. On the day the future of the franchise debuted, the prodigal son returned, different than before, same as ever. --Jeff Passan
Cubs defeat Brewers 5-4:The first game of the 2022 MLB season provided a reminder that you never know what you are going to see when you go to the ballpark. Cubs shortstopNico Hoernerhit the first home run of the 2022 season off reigning NL Cy Young winnerCorbin Burnes. Yes, you read that right. Hoerner, who hadn't hit a long ball in two seasons, became the first player to follow up a homerless year with a dinger on Opening Day since Emilio Bonifacio in 2009. Burnes, on the other hand, walked the first batter he faced in 2022, after the Brewers ace set a major league record by striking out 58 before issuing his first base on balls a season ago. Yeah, you can't predict baseball.
All in all, Burnes walked three batters in five innings on Thursday -- including issuing a free pass to Japanese rookieSeiya Suzuki, who walked twice, had a single and scored a run in his MLB debut. -- Jesse Rogers
The best of Thursday's action
Walkoff for Arizona!
Yu Darvish pitched a gem and the Diamondbacks were nearly no-hit ... but then Seth Beer stepped up to the plate and changed the narrative.
Trout is ready to stay healthy, win in the playoffs
It has been six years since Mike Trout played a full, traditional season without missing stretches of time because of injury.
He has noticed.
"It's my main goal," Trout, speaking ahead of Opening Day on Thursday, said when asked about the importance of playing a full season. The Los Angeles Angels' star center fielder, who spent the last four-plus months of the 2021 regular season sidelined by a calf injury that became far more serious than expected, has a new program with the team's new training staff that emphasizes flexibility and mobility in his lower body. Trout hopes it will make all the difference.
"In the past, I would wake up sore a little bit and just have to grind through it," he said. "Now I gotta really harp on taking care of my lower body."
The Angels lost 85 games last year even though Shohei Ohtani put together a historic season as a two-way player. The biggest reason (aside from their usual lack of pitching depth): Ohtani, Trout and Anthony Rendon played in the same lineup for only 17 of their 162 games. Their health, plus the addition of Noah Syndergaard and a deeper bullpen, has Trout believing he might finally win his first playoff game this year.
Yes, you might have heard that Trout, the greatest player of his generation, has yet to win a single postseason game.
He is 30 years old now.
This is his 12th season.
"I'm tired of hearing it," Trout said. "I talked to the guys in there; we're all tired of hearing it. We're eager to go."-- Alden Gonzalez
Soto clocks one
People keep comparing Juan Soto to some of the greatest hitters of all time ... and dingers like this are the reason why.
Nothing but love for the MVP
Shohei Ohtani has taken the mound for the Angels, and the Los Angeles faithful showed their appreciation for his legendary 2021 season.
Play at the plate!
The Nationals needed a perfect relay to get Pete Alonso out at home ... and a perfect relay is what they pulled off.
Votto on the mic
Miking upJoey Vottowas a good idea, especially considering he might be one of the funniest players in the league.
Right back atcha
IfTyler Mahlewasn't already awake, he certainly is now after snagging this comebacker.
Ruiz with the cannon
Making the first out of the season on a caught stealing is unusual -- but that's whatKeibert Ruizjust did to the Mets.
A beautiful night to defend a title
Here's a quick look at the gorgeous scene at Truist Park tonight as the defending champion Atlanta Braves take on the Cincinnati Reds.
First run of the year
After three innings, the first run of the season is on the board. Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain hit a groundout to first, but Andrew McCutchen was able to make it home to give visiting Milwaukee a 1-0 lead over the Cubs in the top of the fourth.
Welcome to the league
Getting called up to the majors is a big moment for any baseball player. Leading up to Opening Day on Thursday, players were notified that they made their teams' rosters, which produced some touching moments for the teams and players.
During the Chicago Cubs' spring training game against the Chicago White Sox on Monday, pitcher Ethan Roberts was notified by manager David Ross that he made the Opening Day roster. Roberts, who was drafted by the Cubs in 2018, was visibly emotional after receiving the news. The Cubs' first game of the season is against the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday.
Julio Rodriguez, the No. 3 prospect as ranked by ESPN, got the nod for the Seattle Mariners' Opening Day roster. He signed with the team as an international free agent in 2017. Rodriguez is slated to start in center field and will make his debut on Friday against the Minnesota Twins.
Rodriguez was full of excitement when manager Scott Servais broke the news. Things got even better for the 21-year-old when he was informed that his parents will be in attendance for his first MLB game.
The Kanas City Royals drafted Bobby Witt Jr. second overall in the 2019 MLB draft. Roughly three years later, he will make his big league debut, starting at third base for the team against the Cleveland Guardians. The 21-year-old was all smiles after hearing he made the Royals' Opening Day roster ... and later recorded his first hit.
Seiya Suzuki made his MLB debut against the Brewers on Thursday. In March, he signed a five-year deal with the Cubs. Before joining Chicago, he played in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball league, in which he was a four-time All-Star and three-time Golden Glove winner. In the bottom of the fifth, Suzuki hit a ball into left field for the first hit of his MLB career.
Opening Day well wishes
The Atlanta Braves begin their quest to defend their World Series title against the Cincinnati Redson Thursday. The Georgia Bulldogs, who won the College Football Playoff National Championship in January, wished the team good luck on their upcoming season.
The Chicago Bears shouted out to both the White Sox and Cubs ahead of their first games of the MLB season.
Pujols gets standing ovation in return to Cardinals
Albert Pujols gets a standing ovation in first at-bat back as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Joey Votto produces some absolute gold while mic'd up with ESPN
Joey Votto discusses his social media presence, desire to get a gold tooth and chats with Ozzie Albies while mic'd up with the ESPN booth.
Nico Hoerner hits first HR of 2022 MLB season
Nico Hoerner belts a two-run home run to give the Cubs a lead over the Brewers.
Bobby Witt Jr. helps Royals take 8th-inning lead
The Royals jump out to a 3-1 lead over the Guardians as Bobby Witt Jr. and Andrew Benintendi put together back-to-back RBI hits.
Beer walks it off vs. Padres
Seth Beer rips a three-run walk-off home run to help the Diamondbacks take down the Padres 4-2.