Pirates left-hander ties team record for Opening Day strikeouts
By Roger Schlueter
Here are six interesting stats from around the big leagues on Opening Day …
• In the first game of the 2016 season, Pirates southpaw Francisco Liriano -- making his third straight Opening Day start for the team -- silenced the Cardinals' offense to the tune of three hits and 10 strikeouts over six scoreless innings at PNC Park. Liriano tied the team record for Opening Day strikeouts, a mark first set by left-hander Bob Veale in 1965. Fellow lefty John Candelaria set down 10 via the strikeout in 1983, and then A.J. Burnett (2013) and Liriano ('14) also reached double digits.
• Cards backstop Yadier Molina made his 12th career Opening Day start behind the plate. Dating back to 1913, Molina stands (or squats) as one of five catchers to have at least 12 Opening Day starts with one team. The others: the White Sox Ray Schalk, with 15; the Cubs' Gabby Hartnett, with 12; the Yankees' Bill Dickey, with 15; and the Reds' Johnny Bench, with 12.
• Tampa Bay's Chris Archer became the first Opening Day hurler since Bob Gibson in 1975 to fan at least a dozen batters while taking the loss. Archer struck out 12 over five innings, surrendered three runs (two earned) and dropped the decision as Toronto came out on top, 5-3. In '75, Gibson went eight, gave up five runs, struck out 12 with five walks, and went down in an 8-4 loss to the Expos.
• Troy Tulowitzki became the first Blue Jays shortstop to homer on Opening Day since Alex Gonzalez in 1997. The home run marked the fourth Opening Day Tulowitzki has honored with a home run. In the past 104 seasons, the only other shortstop with roundtrippers in four Opening Days: Jimmy Rollins.
• In their 4-3 Opening Day win against the Mets, the Royals collected nine hits -- all singles. In 2015, Kansas City was 0-10 when finishing a game with no extra-base hits.
Omar Infante, who had a terrific spring, gets his second hit of the game, an RBI knock to center. #Royals 4-0