Cubs, Maddon become first to use no-pitch intentional walk

Cubs begin title defence against Fowler, Cardinals

Chicago ended a 108-year wait for World Series glory when they beat Cleveland last November but slipped to defeat in their first game of the new campaign when Randal Grichuk came up with a walk-off single for the Cardinals in the bottom of the ninth.

Grichuk says he has not one, but two souvenirs to take from Sunday's opener.

Jose Martinez sparked the winning rally with a pinch-hit double before Yadier Molina was intentionally walk - the first no-pitch intentional walk in major league history.

Oh (1-0) got the win for St. Louis, while Montgomery (0-1) took the loss in relief for the Cubs.

"He didn't try to do too much", Matheny said of Grichuk. "The ball really did jump right there". His two run homer in the 8th inning gave the Cardinals a 3-0 lead over the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs. One out later, Jason Heyward hit a ball that didn't quite go hard enough for any of the Cardinals fielders to make a clean play on it, and Heyward did a head-first slide into first base, with Matt Carpenter just missing the play. "Obviously the 3-run homer is a nice play on our part". Martinez got into a bit of a jam in the eighth, allowing singles to Willson Contreras and Javier Baez. Probably. And speaking of that, maybe I should hold us all to a higher expectation.

(AP Photo/Paul Beaty). A rain tarp covers the field at Guaranteed Rate Field during a rain delay on opening day before an MLB baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers, Monday, April 3, 2017 in Chicago.

He struck out 10 in 7.1 scoreless innings and got a no-decision.

"We were picked by everyone under the sun to win a year ago, too", team president Theo Epstein said. "But I've never had that kind of focus before". Martinez said. "When I'm watching those videos and I'm scoring, pumping around, jumping around-it's going to be pretty special". "Great pitching, great movement".

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St. Louis opened the scoring in its half of the third with a run built on the speed it didn't display much of previous year.

Chicago couldn't solve Martinez for five innings, managing only three hits as Martinez whiffed seven with a good mixture of sizzling fastballs and tantalizing changeups.

St. Louis has become accustomed to donning one of MLB's best rotations each year.

"This is a special day". "Every win is big".

"Impressive", Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Martinez.

In an interview after the game, Cubs manager Joe Maddon had a lot of praise for Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez, who was outstanding for seven innings. Chicago opened its second straight year without a rookie on the roster. It started 15 of the prior 19 seasons with a rookie on the 25-man roster.

So, when they mentioned their 11 World Series championships dozens of times during the pregame ceremony Sunday night, it might have been as much about who was in the visiting dugout as it was about the 125th anniversary of the day they joined the National League.

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