Originally posted on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 4/7/12

Remember yesterday, when I talked about aces dominating the landscape of Thursday? That uh, didn't happen on Friday. Giants ace Tim Lincecum only went 5 1/3 and allowed five runs. On the bright side, he only walked one while striking out seven. On their faux Opening Day in Oakland, A's ace Brandon McCarthy allowed five runs (though only two were earned) in five innings. Both started get shellacked in Tampa Bay, where CC Sabathia allowed five runs in six innings, and James Shields allowed six runs in five innings. And then, there was probably the worst outing by a starter all day in Milwaukee, where Yovani Gallardo allowed six runs on five walks and four homers while getting just 11 outs. Yeah, that's not going to do you very well.

Game of the Night: Rays 7, Yankees 6. The Rays immediately jumped out to a first inning lead in this one, as with two men on in the opening frame, Yankees manager Joe Girardi walked Sean Rodriguez to load the bases for returning Ray Carlos Pena. To beat the point home that YOU DON'T INTENTIONALLY WALK HITTERS IN THE FIRST INNING, Pena hit a grand slam to right to immediately stake the Rays to a 4-0 lead. With ace James Shields on the mound, that looked like it would be enough. Of course, Shields allowed six runs over the next two frames, highlighted by a three run homer by Raul Ibanez (which apparently makes his signing this offseason absolutely perfect). The Rays would get another run in the bottom of the third on an Evan Longoria homer to make it a 6-5 game, and that's where it stayed until the ninth when Yankees closer Mariano Rivera came in. Desmond Jennings started the inning with a single, and Ben Zobrist followed up with a triple to bring in Jennings and tie the game. Girardi ordered intentional walks of Longoria and Luke Scott to load the bases with none out in order to set up a force at home. Rodriguez struck out swinging (after getting to a 3-1 count), and that brought up Pena with a chance to be the hero. Sure enough, with only two men in the outfield and a five man infield, Pena delivered, hitting a titanic shot to deep left center that nearly cleared the wall to give the Rays a walkoff victory.

Pitching Line of the Night: When I wrote my Dodgers season preview last week, I talked about the need for Chad Billinglsey to step up for the Dodgers. In his first start of the year, he did just that. Billingsley threw 8 1/3 scoreless innings against the Padres, allowing just three hits and one walk while striking out 11. The Dodgers won the game 6-0, and have started the season with two straight wins over San Diego.

Hitting Line of the Night: The Rays' Pena had an excellent return to Tropicana Field. He went 3/5 with five RBI, highlighted by his grand slam in the first. The walkoff single also would have gone for extra bases (and cleared the bases, for that matter) if it didn't happen in a walkoff situation. Also, in typical Pena fashion, he struck out twice.

Spotlight Series: Thanks to the MLB's screwy Opening Weekend schedule, the Cubs and Nationals didn't play yesterday. They start at 1:05 today, with new Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez taking on Matt Garza of the Cubs.

Other Games: Albert Pujols went hitless in his Angels debut, but a three run triple by Erick Aybar gave the Angels the runs they needed behind a shutout effort from Jered Weaver over eight innings. Jake Arrieta threw seven scoreless innings for the Orioles, but I'd like to see if he can put it together against a club that isn't as offensively challenged as the Twins. Colby Lewis struck out nine with just one walk as the defending AL champion Rangers beat the White Sox in Robin Ventura's managerial debut. The Rockies beat the Astros. In a related story, a tree fell in the forest and no one heard a thing. 

Today's Games: Today is our first fuill slate of games, with 15 of them on the schedule. Some interesting pitching matchups include Brandon Morrow vs Ubaldo Jimenez in Cleveland, Josh Beckett vs Doug Fister in Detroit, Madison Bumgarner vs Daniel Hudson in Arizona, Hiroki Kuroda vs David Price in Tampa, and Ricky Nolasco vs Mat Latos in Cincinnati. Keep an eye on the Rockies-Astros game too, where 49 year-old (and fantastic radio guest) Jamie Moyer gets the start for the Rockies.

Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone!

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This article first appeared on The Outside Corner and was syndicated with permission.

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