Baseball

Diamond digest: Baseball’s top story lines this week

Seattle Mariners pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma, left, and New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka on Sunday became the first set of former teammates in the Japanese baseball league to match up in the majors.
Seattle Mariners pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma, left, and New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka on Sunday became the first set of former teammates in the Japanese baseball league to match up in the majors. The Associated Press

The Major League Baseball season is two weeks old. Here are five interesting stories this week.

Japanese ex-teammates have historic meeting

In a matchup of old friends from the Far East, Seattle Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma came up short.

New York Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka topped Iwakuma on Sunday in the first major league pitching matchup between former teammates in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league – a game that was broadcast live on television at 2 a.m. in Tokyo.

“I was very excited to face (my) ex-teammate,” Iwakuma said through a translator.

Iwakuma, 35, was teammates with Tanaka, 27, from 2007-11 on the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.

“Just extremely satisfied being able to get that win,” Tanaka said through a translator after the Yankees’ 4-3 victory.

The Associated Press

Braves, Twins sweep after 0-9 starts

Starting pitcher Matt Wisler retired the side 1-2-3 in the 10th inning for his first career save and the Atlanta Braves – who arrived in Miami with an 0-9 record, their worst start since 1988 – beat the Marlins 6-5 Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.

Not to be outdone, the majors’ only other winless team entering Friday celebrated a sweep as well Sunday.

Oswaldo Arcia’s single down the left-field line scored Byron Buxton in the 12th inning and the Minnesota Twins, who also started the season 0-9, completed a three-game sweep of the visiting Los Angeles Angels with a 3-2 victory.

The Associated Press

Cool Story, bro

Colorado Rockies rookie shortstop Trevor Story was baseball’s big story last week, when he hit seven home runs in his first six major league games.

He has since cooled off, going 3 for 16 with 10 strikeouts in his last four games. He still leads the majors in homers.

Rockies manager Walt Weiss expressed little concern over Story’s recent struggles.

“I still think he’s competing really well and he’s still a dangerous bat at the top of our lineup,” Weiss said.

The Associated Press

Bautista a beast on the bases

Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista knows how to get on base.

In 13 games this season, he’s reached at least once in all of them. He has hits in eight of those games, and has walked in the hitless contests.

Bautista is hitting .297 (13 for 42) with three home runs this season. He also has 13 walks.

Three outings, three wins

Three pitchers have perfect records in their three starts this season.

Reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta of the Chicago Cubs leads the way. He has a 1.23 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 22 innings.

Also 3-0 are White Sox ace Chris Sale (23 IP, 2.35 ERA, 23 Ks) and Giants right-hander Johnny Cueto (21 1/3 IP, 3.38 ERA, 19 Ks).

Compiled by Noel Harris

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