In the longest Opening Day game in major league history, J.P. Arencibia’s three-run homer in the 16th inning sent the Toronto Blue Jays to a 7-4 win over the Indians Thursday night in Cleveland.
Arencibia was 0 for 6 with three strikeouts before connecting off Jairo Asencio.
The marathon eclipsed the previous longest openers - 15 innings between Cleveland and Detroit in 1960 and Philadelphia and Washington in 1926.
Luis Perez, Toronto’s seventh pitcher, pitched four scoreless innings for the win and Sergio Santos got two outs to end the 5-hour, 14-minute game.
Jose Bautista homered and hit a sacrifice fly for Toronto, which rallied for three runs in the ninth off All-Star closer Chris Perez to force extra innings.
Jack Hannahan hit a three-run homer in the second to give Cleveland a 4-0 lead against Ricky Romero. But the Indians didn’t score again, going 14 innings without pushing across a run.
Cleveland starter Justin Masterson allowed just two hits and struck out 10 in eight dominant innings. But the Blue Jays, who believe they can hang with Boston, New York, and Tampa Bay in the brutal AL East, rallied in the ninth off Perez.
The Indians loaded the bases in the 12th on two walks and a single before Blue Jays manager John Farrell brought 44-year-old shortstop Vizquel off the bench as a fifth infielder. The strategy worked when Asdrubal Cabrera swung at Perez’s first pitch and bounced into an inning-ending double play.
Phillies 1, Pirates 0 - Roy Halladay was nearly flawless for eight innings and Philadelphia showed off their pitching from the start by edging host Pittsburgh.
Missing injured stars Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, the Phillies scored the lone run they needed on a sacrifice fly by Carlos Ruiz in the seventh. New closer Jonathan Papelbon pitched a perfect ninth for his first National League save.
Halladay sparkled, giving up just two first-inning singles while striking out five without issuing a walk.
Pittsburgh starter Erik Bedard nearly matched Halladay pitch for pitch, giving up only one run in seven innings.
Nationals 2, Cubs 1 - Stephen Strasburg dominated Chicago for seven innings, and Ian Desmond singled in the go-ahead run in the ninth to give visiting Washington a win over the Cubs.
Strasburg allowed one run and five hits, including an RBI single to Marlon Byrd in the fourth. He was pinch hit for in the eighth, when Kerry Wood forced in the tying run with three straight walks, and did not figure in the decision.
Washington went ahead in the ninth when Chad Tracy hit a two-out double off the right-field wall against Carlos Marmol, and Desmond followed with his third hit.
Strasburg struck out five and walked one. He reached 98 mph when he struck out Starlin Castro in the sixth.
Ryan Dempster, making his fourth opening start, was just as dominant, striking out 10 in 7 2/3 innings.
Mets 1, Braves 0 - Back on a major league mound for the first time in 19 months, Johan Santana tossed five innings of two-hit ball in his long-awaited return from shoulder surgery and David Wright hit an RBI single to lead host New York past Atlanta.
New York’s revamped bullpen shut down the Braves, while the shortened fences at reconfigured Citi Field hardly came into play.
Santana struck out five and wriggled out of a fifth-inning jam in his first big league appearance since beating the Braves Sept. 2, 2010. He had surgery 12 days later to repair a torn anterior cruciate capsule in his left shoulder.
Reds 4, Marlins 0 - Jay Bruce homered and drove in a pair of runs, and Johnny Cueto dominated in his first Opening Day start, leading host Cincinnati past Miami before one of the biggest crowds ever at Great American Ball Park.
Cueto allowed only three hits over seven innings, one of them an infield single.
Miami’s Mark Buehrle gave up Bruce’s sacrifice fly and Ryan Ludwick’s RBI double over six innings. Bruce also homered off Edward Mujica.
Dodgers 5, Padres 3 - With Magic Johnson and Frank McCourt watching from next to the dugout, Los Angeles beat host San Diego even though reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw left after three innings with the flu.
Former Lakers great Johnson, part of a group buying the Dodgers for $2.15 billion from McCourt, had a big smile after Matt Kemp hit a two-run homer in the eighth, giving him three RBIs. Johnson and McCourt sat next to each other and chatted throughout the game.