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Stewart not in lineup for opener

Rockies third baseman Ian Stewart was healthy enough to be on the roster for the Friday afternoon opener against the D-backs, but not healthy enough to start.

Ty Wigginton, signed as a free agent during the offseason, gets the start at third, and Jose Lopez, acquired in a trade with the Mariners, will start at second.

There had been talk of infield utility man Jonathan Herrera, who had an outstanding spring, (.371, four triples) getting the nod, possibly ahead of Lopez, but that was not to be. Herrera will be a versatile hitter off the bench.

Here’s the lineup:

Dexter Fowler, CF

Seth Smith, RF

Carlos Gonzalez, LF

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Todd Helton, 1B

Ty Wigginton, 3B

Jose Lopez, 2B

Chris Iannetta, C

Ubaldo Jimenez, P

– Thomas Harding

D-backs Opening Day Lineup

Kirk Gibson waited until Friday morning to make up his lineup. Here it is:

Bloomquist ss, Johnson 2b, Upton rf, Young cf, Miranda 1b, Mora 3b, Montero c, Parra lf, Kennedy p

Hurdle reminisces on Opening Day

Prior to making his Pittsburgh managerial debut with an afternoon affair at Wrigley Field, Clint Hurdle was asked about Opening Days past. He shared two memories with the gathered media, beginning with his first Opening Day as a player:

“It was in Cleveland in front of 70,000 people, followed up by about 12,000 the next day. It was freezing. I don’t even remember how I did. I don’t know if it was 0-for-4 or 1-for-4, but the one nugget of wisdom I got came when I was standing up for the National Anthem. [George] Brett looked me in the eye and said, ‘Let’s get four hits today.’ I was nervous and I was thinking, ‘That’s such a nice thing to say.’ I looked at him and said, ‘OK,’ and he said, ‘I’ll get three, you get one.’ I don’t know if I held up my end of the deal or not. He probably held up his.”

Truth be told, the box score shows that Hurdle went 0-for-4 and Brett finished 1-for-3 in an 8-5 loss to the Indians.

As for Hurdle’s most memorable Opening Day — that came in 2005, when the Rockies scored four times in the ninth to steal a 12-10 win over the Padres. The game was capped by Clint Barmes’ two-out, two-run homer off Trevor Hoffman.

“It was a young club,” Hurdle said. “It was a very exciting day. That would have been one of my favorites.” He then added: “This one is going to be significant. I’m really looking forward to this one. Being a part of the Pirate family, representing the Pirate organization, opening the 2011 season at Wrigley Field, it doesn’t get any better than this.”

– Jenifer Langosch

Donnie Baseball wins debut

With only an unearned run for support, Clayton Kershaw fired seven scoreless innings Thursday as the Dodgers edged the World Series champion Giants and ace Tim Lincecum, 2-1, presenting new manager Don Mattingly with an Opening Day first victory.

The 23-year-old Kershaw, the youngest Opening Day starter for the Dodgers since Fernando Valenzuela in 1983, struck out nine and allowed four hits with one walk. He outdueled Lincecum, the two-time Cy Young Award winner, who also went seven innings with five strikeouts, five hits and three walks.

– Ken Gurnick

E equals W for Padres

An error by Cardinals shortstop Ryan Theriot in the 11th inning on Thursday helped the Padres to a 5-3 victory before a sold-out crowd of 46,368 at Busch Stadium.

Chase Headley scored from third base when Theriot botched the relay throw back into the infield after a single by Cameron Maybin. Nick Hundley drove in a run later in the inning for the final margin.

The Cardinals (0-1) took a 3-2 lead into the ninth inning before Ryan Franklin allowed a home run to Maybin with two outs in the inning.

The Cardinals got three hits from Matt Holliday, including a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning.

– Corey Brock

Halo 2011!

Pitching, defense and power carried the Angels to an impressive 4-2 Opening Day decision over the Royals under threatening skies at Kauffman Stadium.

Jered Weaver, the Majors’ 2010 strikeout king, was on his game, and Torii Hunter and Jeff Mathis smacked solo home runs to lead the assault against Royals starter Luke Hochevar.

Hunter’s 446-blast to dead center – his third career Opening Day homer and second in Kansas City — snapped a scoreless duel in the fourth.

– Lyle Spencer

The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat

While Ramon Hernandez celebrates, Prince Fielder walks off the field. (AP)

Padres look stronger up the middle

It wasn’t more than two days after the 2010 regular season ended when Padres general manager Jed Hoyer told reporters that he wanted the team to be stronger up the middle in 2011.

Hoyer then went out and traded for center fielder Cameron Maybin and shortstop Jason Bartlett and signed free second second baseman Orlando Hudson.

All three have made nice first impressions on Opening Day, as Maybin had a sliding catch in shallow center field on the first play of the game.

Bartlett and Hudson — with an assist to pitcher Tim Stauffer, of course — have combined to turn three double plays through the first five innings of Thursday’s game.

Strong up the middle, indeed.

– Corey Brock

Hunter comes out smokin’

Three hours before the season opener at Kauffman Stadium, Torii Hunter was talking about how nice it would be to get that first hit out of the way so he could “relax and just play the game.”

It took Hunter two at-bats. Leading off the fourth inning against Luke Hochhevar, Hunter launched one 446 feet over the wall in dead center, giving Jered Weaver the lead. In his next at-bat, Hunter singled to left center, but the Angels left two stranded.

“I’ve been hitting the ball hard,” Hunter said before the game. “You like to get your swing right before the season starts. It’s like Muhammad Ali when he was training for a fight. He didn’t want to peak too soon. He wanted to be ready for the bell.”

Hunter clearly was ready for the bell and came out smokin’ like Ali’s old adversary, Joe Frazier. – Lyle Spencer

It’s a walk-off!

Ramon Hernandez sent Cincinnati fans home happy with two-out, three-run homer off Brewers closer John Axford in the bottom of the ninth inning. Watch Hernandez’s walk-off shot.

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