J.P. Arencibia’s three-run homer in the 16th inning sent the Toronto Blue Jays to a 7-4 win over the Cleveland Indians on Thursday in the longest opening-day game in major league history.
Arencibia was zero-for-six with three strikeouts before connecting off Jairo Asencio.
The marathon eclipsed the previous longest openers — 15 innings between Cleveland and Detroit in 1960 and 15 innings between 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, who rallied for three runs in the ninth off All-Star closer Chris Perez to force extra innings.
TIGERS 3, RED SOX 2
In Detroit, Austin Jackson hit a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth inning and Detroit overcame a blown save by Jose Valverde to beat Boston.
AL MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander was dominant for eight innings and left with a 2-0 lead. However, Valverde (1-0) blew a save for the first time in 52 chances, a streak that included 49 in a row last season.
Boston manager Bobby Valentine lost in his return to the major leagues after replacing Terry Francona following the team’s 7-20 slide in September last year that cost the Red Sox a playoff spot.
With one out in the Tigers ninth, Jhonny Peralta and Alex Avila singled off Mark Melancon (0-1), and Ramon Santiago was hit by a pitch from Alfredo Aceves. Jackson followed with a sharp grounder past diving third baseman Nick Punto.
Prince Fielder singled his first time up for the AL Central champions and added a sacrifice fly. Verlander gave up two hits, walked one and struck out seven.
AP, PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA
Roy Halladay was nearly flawless for eight innings on Thursday and the Philadelphia Phillies showed off their pitching from the start, opening the season with a 1-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Missing injured stars Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, the Phillies scored on a sacrifice fly by Carlos Ruiz in the seventh. New closer Jonathan Papelbon pitched a perfect ninth for his first NL save.
The Phillies start this season as the favorites to win their sixth straight NL East title.
Halladay, a two-time Cy Young winner, gave up just two first-inning singles, while striking out five without a walk.
Pittsburgh starter Erik Bedard nearly kept pace with Halladay, giving up only one run in seven innings. He struck out four and walked one.
METS 1, BRAVES 0
In New York, Johan Santana pitched five innings of two-hit ball in his long-awaited return from shoulder surgery and David Wright hit an RBI single to lead New York over Atlanta.
New York’s revamped bullpen picked up for Santana and shut down the Braves, who fielded an opening-day lineup without Chipper Jones for the first time since 1996. Atlanta were punchless at the plate, managing only four hits.
Santana struck out five and wriggled out of a fifth-inning jam in his first big league appearance since beating the Braves 4-2 on Sept. 2, 2010. He had surgery 12 days later.
Tommy Hanson allowed one run on four hits in five innings with three walks for Atlanta.
NATIONALS 2, CUBS 1
In Chicago, Stephen Strasburg frustrated Chicago for seven innings before Ian Desmond singled in the winning run in the ninth to give Washington the win.