David Wright, Johan Santana, Jason Bay all delivered. This was exactly what the New York Mets were looking for on opening day.
Wright hit a two-run homer, Santana pitched six effective innings and the Mets finally solved Josh Johnson, beating the Florida Marlins 7-1 Monday for their fifth consecutive win in season openers.
"I think it was an all-around good effort," Wright said. "We caught the ball, we pitched well and obviously had some timely hitting. You can't ask for much more than that, first game of the season."
Newcomers Bay, Rod Barajas and Gary Matthews Jr. each got two hits for New York, which improved to a major league-best 32-17 (.653) on opening day. Manager Jerry Manuel also got three scoreless innings from his beleaguered bullpen, which he said was his biggest concern entering the season.
For one game, at least, the Mets looked ready to bounce back after they stumbled to a fourth-place finish in the NL East last year.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez and the Marlins think they can be a surprise contender again this season, but this sloppy performance wasn't a very good beginning.
Johnson allowed four runs and five hits over five-plus innings in his first opening-day start, dropping to 7-1 with a 2.69 ERA in 10 career starts against New York. Cameron Maybin struck out swinging three times and Florida committed three errors during the Mets' four-run sixth.
Albert Pujols launched two home runs, Roy Halladay looked every bit an ace. Still, no one had a bigger blast on opening day than Jason Heyward.
Billed as the majors' next phenom, this Braves prospect bridged baseball's past and future Monday when he caught the ceremonial first ball from Hank Aaron.
Then with the Atlanta crowd chanting his name, the 20-year-old Heyward mashed a three-run homer on his first swing in the big leagues.
"I felt my legs, but I couldn't hear myself think," he said. "I think I'll remember that the most ... how loud it was."
Nice job, rook.
Mark McGwire made a more quiet return. Back in baseball after admitting he took steroids, Big Mac drew little reaction in Cincinnati when he was introduced as the new hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals.
In New York, there were a few boos. After seeing their club crippled by injuries last season, Mets fans heckled - of all people - the team trainers. Tough crowd!
Cubs manager Lou Piniella didn't seem real pleased, either, when the umpires' call went against him on a dropped fly ball. After a postseason dotted with missed calls, there are sure to be more shouts this year for extra instant replay.
A day after Boston beat the World Series champion New York Yankees 9-7 in the major league opener, most everyone else swung into action.
There were 13 games on the schedule, plus a bid for history. Toronto pitcher Shaun Marcum took a no-hitter into the seventh inning at Texas before it was broken up. His effort was even more remarkable because he missed the entire 2009 season with elbow trouble.
Too bad for the Blue Jays, they were beaten in the bottom of the ninth inning.
All over, the weather held. Rather than the dreary, upper 30s temperatures that often dampen openers, it was a beautiful day to play ball. In Milwaukee, this was the earliest the Miller Park roof was open for a regular-season game in its 10-year history.