Well, Opening Day finally arrived and there were plenty of reasons to feel excited about the season. The Twins got out of the gate the right way, beating the Orioles at the Metrodome 7-4 last night. Johan Santana started the game with a strike and struck out the first batter of the day, Brian Roberts. Justin Morneau's first swing of the bat smacked an opposite-field homer off of lefty Erik Bedard to give the Twins a 1-0 lead in the second. Torii followed, swinging at the first pitch, and hitting it over the right-field wall.
Overall, it wasn't the greatest pitching day, but the offense was impressive. The Twins lineup went 12-for-35 and produced seven runs, doing better than expected against the often-impressive Bedard. Most of the Twins' production came from Morneau and Hunter, as Morneau went 3-for-4 with two RBI and Hunter went 2-for-4 with two RBI.
Otherwise, Luis Castillo had a three-hit night, Joe Mauer was his usual self, picking up a hit and a walk, and Jeff Cirillo had a good debut, going 1-for-2 with a walk and an RBI single. Rondell White looked more like an alternate-universe version of himself, failing to get a hit but walking and making a great diving catch in the field. Strange.
As for Santana, he was just as he has been the last few opening starts: mediocre. He struck out six in six innings, but walked two, gave up four runs, and allowed seven hits. Those hoping he would immediately be in Cy Young form may be disappointed, but it is only one start and it's not as if there is reason to be worried.
Otherwise, the one noticeable problem in the game was Morneau's baserunning. Twice he got caught trying to take an extra base, as he was thrown out at the plate and at second base, both by right fielder Nick Markakis. Last year, Morneau had similar problems, which probably prevented him from scoring over 100 times. It isn't the biggest fault obviously, but Morneau might need a few lessons from Joe Mauer on baserunning fundamentals. And, as Gleeman mentions, some of it may not have been Morneau's fault.
There isn't much, however, to complain about when you've got Joe Nathan back on the screen, pumping 96-mph fastballs to get his first save of the year. Here's to another great season!