San Francisco picked up where it left off last season on Opening Day.


The defending World Series champion defeated Arizona 5-4 on Monday night behind a strong performance by Madison Bumgarner, who allowed a run on six hits in seven innings pitched.

“The bell rung, these guys answered it,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

Angel Pagan drove in two runs on singles, Brandon Crawford had a two-run double and the bullpen held on for the win.

“It’s about winning games, and we were able to find a way to do it,” said Bumgarner, who was the NLCS and World Series MVP last year.

Electric start to MLB season: There was a lot of electricity flowing through Wrigley Field, and not just because of the addition of a giant videoboard in left field.

It was the rebuilt Chicago Cubs facing the NL Central Division champion St. Louis Cardinals in the major league season opener on Sunday night in Chicago, with Adam Wainwright going up against Jon Lester on the mound.

Wainwright got the best of it, allowing five hits in six innings to beat the Cubs 3-0.

“A shutout win is a great way to do it,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.

Wainwright has owned the Cubs at Wrigley Field, improving to 9-1 with a 3.33 ERA in 20 games at the Cubs’ ball park. Despite having trouble with leadoff hitters reaching base, Wainwright was able to pitch out of trouble, striking out six batters with no walks.

“(Wainwright) is so good,” Lester said. “You don’t get to him early, it’s like a lot of the great pitchers. If you allow him to establish his rhythm and what he’s trying to do, then it’s going to be a long day.”

Wainwright retired 12 of the last 14 batters he faced.

Jason Heyward, who was acquired in the off-season, had three hits in his debut with the Cardinals. Matt Holliday had two RBIs.

Lester was a little rusty for the Cubs, giving up eight hits in just 4 1/3 innings. Chicago’s offense fell flat too, as the Cubs went 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

Padres trade for Kimbrel, Upton: The San Diego Padres made waves again by acquiring closer Craig Kimbrel and outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. in a trade with the Atlanta Braves last weekend. San Diego sent outfielders Carlos Quentin and Cameron Maybin plus a pair of minor league players to the Braves in exchange.

Upton, who went by the name B.J. before this season, reunites with his brother Justin Upton, another former Braves’ player the Padres acquired earlier in the off-season along with outfielder Matt Kemp from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“With the chance to acquire Kimbrel, who’s one of the best in the game, if not the best, it was a price we were willing to pay,” Padres’ general manager A.J. Preller said.

San Diego adds on $80.35 million in guaranteed salaries to Kimbrel and Melvin Upton.

Kimbrel, 26, led the National League with 47 saves last season, and has 97 saves over the past two years. He has been an All-Star the past four seasons.

Although the Padres are making a push for the World Series, they lost their season opener 6-3 to the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was newcomer Jimmy Rollins who was the difference for Los Angeles, belting a tiebreaking three-run homer in the eighth inning at Dodger Stadium.

Cubs add videoboard at Wrigley: The Chicago Cubs put into place a 3,990-square-foot videoboard just days before Opening Night, one of the many renovation projects underway at the 101-year-old Wrigley Field.

The new videoboard in left field has caught the attention of fans and players, who can view replays along with stats of each player. Players in Sunday night’s season opener could not help but watch themselves walk or run onto the field, and watch replays.

A smaller videoboard will be added to right-field near the All-Star break, and renovations to both the Cubs and visiting clubhouses will be made along with new bleachers. The left and center-field bleachers are scheduled to open in May, followed by the right-field bleachers in June.

The Cubs had to remove a couple of bathrooms during construction, creating long lines for Sunday night’s opener against St. Louis.

A-Rod cheered in return: Despite missing all of last season due to his drug suspension, Alex Rodriguez returned to Yankee Stadium to hear mostly cheers in Monday’s Opening Day game.

Rodriguez batted seventh as the designated hitter in the lineup and went 1-for-2 with a walk in the New York Yankees’ 6-1 loss to Toronto.

“I have to admit, it definitely felt good,” Rodriguez said. “I have a lot of love for the city of New York, especially our fans.”

Fans cheered loudly for Rodriguez when he came to the plate for the first time in the third inning.

Rodriguez hit .267 in spring training with three home runs and four RBIs in 45 at-bats. He has three years left on his contract paying him $61 million. Rodriguez started this season just six homers behind Willie Mays for fourth place on the all-time list. If Rodriguez ties Mays, he could receive a $6 million bonus, which the Yankees have said they will fight because of Rodriguez’s violation of Major League Baseball’s drug policy.

Diamond Notes: Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez struck out 10 batters in seven innings on Monday in a 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels. It’s the third time Hernandez has whiffed at least 10 in a season opener… The Cleveland Indians have signed American League Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber to a guaranteed five-year contract extension worth $38.5 million… Washington placed outfielders Jayson Werth, Denard Span and Nate McLouth on the 15-day disabled list along with third-baseman Anthony Rendon and pitchers Casey Janssen and Erik Davis. Werth, Span and Rendon are starters…The Orioles have placed catcher Matt Wieters and shortstop J.J. Hardy on the disabled list…Nationals Park in Washington will host the 2018 All-Star Game. Cincinnati hosts the All-Star Game this year, followed by San Diego in 2016 and Miami in 2017.

Copyright © 2015 Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed

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