Royals, Blue Jays start with wins


The Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays opened their MLB campaigns with victories on Sunday.

The Royals held off the New York Mets 4-3 in a repeat of last season's World Series at Kauffman Stadium.

The Blue Jays were led by Marcus Stroman, who pitched eight innings and struck out five in their 5-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Edwin Encarnacion and Troy Tulowitzki each had two RBIs at Tropicana Field.

Pitcher Francisco Liriano struck out 10 as the Pittsburgh Pirates overcame the St Louis Cardinals 4-1.

Gregory Polanco went two-for-three and scored twice for the Pirates as they made a winning start to the season.


Liriano's 10 strikeouts tied a Pirates Opening Day record and he even drove in his team's first run of the game. "I thought Frankie went out and pitched a good ball game," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Frankie stayed aggressive and pitched his ball game. He was well-represented with some of the defensive plays behind him when they had to be made."


The first home run of the season was hit by the Blue Jays' Tulowitzki. He blasted Ryan Webb for a two-run homer to give his team breathing room in the eighth.


Stroman almost got through a complete game. He ended up pitching eight innings, giving up six hits and three runs with five strikeouts.


The Houston Astros are at the New York Yankees on Monday in a rematch of last year's American League wildcard game. AL Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel will start for the Astros, who have become a trendy pick to make a deep post-season run.

The resurgent Chicago Cubs get their highly-anticipated season started as Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels host Anthony Rizzo and his gang of young talent. Addison Russell enjoyed a terrific pre-season. If he breaks out this year, expect a big party in Chicago.