Major League Baseball notes: Yankees, Rays set for AL opener

"It was good to get back out there", Bird said of his first game since undergoing surgery before spring training a year ago.

Archer pitched seven solid innings, and the Rays roughed up Tanaka on the way to beating NY 7-3 in the first game of the new Major League Baseball season Sunday. The Yankees finished in fourth place in the AL East with a decent 84-78 record while the Rays found themselves in the basement with a 68-94 record and 25 games back from the first place Boston Red Sox.

In the second inning, Longoria smashed a two-run homer and Tanaka served up another home run to Logan Morrison in the third.

This marks the 20th season for the Rays.

Morrison tacked on a legitimate solo home run to center field in the third inning, then a Tim Beckham double and a Gary Sanchez error created Tampa's seventh run. Jacoby Ellsbury is 19-for-34 with two homers against Archer, who is 5-5 with a 2.63 ERA in 13 career games versus the Yankees.

PHOENIX (AP) - Two big swings from Madison Bumgarner were undone by another bullpen meltdown in a wild opener for the San Francisco Giants that looked an terrible lot like last season.

The total damage: seven runs on eight hits, including two home runs, and two walks in 2.2 innings. Tanaka's fastball was so bad Sunday at sold-out Tropicana Field that the Yankees were down big and out early into what would become their sixth consecutive Opening Day loss. At that point, Yankees manager Joe Girardi had seen enough, making the call for Tommy Layne to relieve Tanaka.

OUR PICK: Tanaka had an excellent showing in Grapefruit League play, allowing just one earned run across 23 2/3 spring-training innings.

For the Yankees, the first game of 2017 felt like the causeway connecting Tampa to St. Petersburg when it's more like a parking lot than a highway. "This year i feel like we're going to take the next step and we're going to make it to the playoffs and we're going to show the league what we're really made of", said Rodriguez. Tanaka is a veteran who should bounce back in his next start and eventually get his ERA back down to his normal 3.12 ERA. "So, the main thing is, I really need to move forward from today". He allowed two runs on four hits, striking out four and throwing 92 pitches.

Aaron Judge - Judge went 1 -4 with a run batted in.

While Tanaka didn't have a very good year by his standards last season, he still dominated the Rays with a 4-0 record, 2.88 ERA and 34 Ks over 34.1 IP (5 starts) against Tampa last season.

Cubs: LHP Brian Duensing was placed on the 10-day disabled list with lower back spasms.

Tanaka has had a ton of success against the Rays and is coming off a quality spring so the Yankees offer value here. He went 7-1 with a 2.71 ERA in 14 outings after the All-Star break past year.

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