Greg Luzinski, who has slimmed down by 24 pounds since last season, and Dave Kingman, who has beefed up by 15, both got the results they sought. In his first at bat, Luzinski, who now weighs 214, slugged a three-run homer to help Philadelphia beat Montreal 6-3. The Phillies also defeated the Expos 6-2, despite giving up 10 walks, including a league-record five to Rodney Scott. Kingman, now a 225-pounder, contributed two big blasts in a five-homer barrage that provided all the runs as the Cubs dumped New York 7-5. Jerry Martin also had two home runs in that game. Kingman unloaded No. 3 and Barry Foote hit a three-run shot the next day as the Cubs downed the Mets 6-3.
The magic is back, New York's new slogan, is part of a reported $400,000 ad campaign to reawaken fan interest. The most impressive trick for Mets rooters during a season-opening 5-2 win over Chicago was Craig Swan's pitching and hitting. He had two singles and two RBIs.
The world champion Pirates took two of three against the Cardinals without hitting a homer and without using ace Reliever Kent Tekulve. Ed Ott's two-run single in the ninth made Pittsburgh a 4-3 winner, and Jim Bibby's six-hitter and four hits by Omar Moreno produced a 7-2 triumph. St. Louis had opened the series with a 1-0 victory behind the nine-strikeout, three-hit pitching of Pete (Kooky Vooky) Vuckovich. Said Stan Musial of Vuckovich, "The guy throws the best righthanded breaking pitches I ever saw."
PHIL 2-0 PITT 2-1 CHI 2-1 ST.L 1-2 NY 1-2 MONT 0-2
"Our ball club is 100% ready," Atlanta Manager Bob Cox said as he waited for the Braves to face Tom Seaver on Opening Day in Cincinnati. Maybe so, but clearly Atlanta was not set for Tom's terrific replacement, Frank Pastore, who started instead of the flu-ridden Seaver. Pastore pitched the Reds' first Opening Day shutout since 1943, winning 9-0 with the aid of a homer and four RBIs by George Foster. Next time out, another Foster home run, Mike LaCoss' seven-hitter and four Atlanta errors enabled the Reds to win 6-0 in a rain-shortened six-inning game. The Braves seemed about to notch their first win the following day after they ended a 21-inning scoreless drought with a four-run seventh. But one strike from a 4-3 victory, Atlanta was stunned by Dave Concepcion's two-run homer.
Like Cincy, San Diego won three at home. In between 6-4 and 4-2 victories over San Francisco, both of which were saved by Bob Shirley, the Padres triumphed 5-3 as Rollie Fingers tossed 2⅖ innings of one-hit relief. Dave Winfield, who had turned off many Padre fans with his demand for a 10-year $13 million contract, turned many of them back on by driving in seven runs, walloping a homer, stealing a base and throwing out two base runners from rightfield. The Giants, who committed an error a game in 1979, had nine in the three outings in San Diego. Four were by Darrell Evans, who tied a league record for third basemen with three miscues in one inning. Houston and Los Angeles started off with a rousing four-game series (page 34).
SD 3-0 CIN 3-0 HOUS 2-1 LA 1-2 ATL 0-3 SF 0-3
At 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Reliever Dave Heaverlo learned he had been waived from the A's to the Mariners. A little more than five hours later, he arrived at the Kingdome, where Seattle led Toronto 5-2. An hour after suiting up, Heaverlo came in to get the last four outs in an 8-6 victory. Of his swift trip, Heaverlo, who has shaved his head, said, "I saved a lot of time packing because I didn't need to take a hair dryer." Rick Honeycutt didn't need any relief help in beating the Blue Jays 3-2. Leon Roberts, who earlier in the game had had a homer and sacrifice fly, clinched Honeycutt's win with a home run in the 10th.
Five former New Yorkers helped the Rangers defeat the Yankees twice. Jon Matlack, once a Met, retired 25 of the final 26 batters he faced while matching Ron Guidry's shutout pitching for nine innings. Ex-Yankee Sparky Lyle then added 2⅖ innings of one-hit relief. And the game's only run came in the 12th when Mickey Rivers, late of the Yankees, scored from third as Reliever Goose Gossage, on his first delivery of the season, uncorked a wild pitch. The next night Texas won 11-7, with Rivers getting four hits and Rusty Staub, a onetime Met, hitting a pinch homer and going 3 for 3. Preserving the triumph with four innings of nifty relief was Dave Rajsich, still another former Yankee.
Chicago beat Baltimore 8-4 and 8-2. Rookie Rich Dotson, who picked up 14 outs with his baffling changeup, tossed a five-hitter in the second victory.
Joe Rudi, who has been injury-plagued since joining the Angels in 1977, got off to a healthy start. He slammed three homers, two as California drubbed Cleveland 10-2.
Although Darrell Porter was undergoing treatment for alcoholism and Amos Otis was out with an injured finger, the Royals' offense was productive. Pete LaCock's three RBIs and Larry Gura's six-hitter carried Kansas City past Detroit 4-0 one day, and a 15-hit attack subdued the Tigers 8-6 the next.
"This team's going to learn to hate to lose," said Billy Martin, Oakland's new skipper. The A's surely hated it when the Twins, who were one out from a 7-5 loss, tied the score on Willie Norwood's two-run single and won 9-7 when Roy Smalley and Rick Sofield homered in the 12th. The victor was rookie Doug Corbett, who gave up one hit in five innings of relief. Oakland won the next day 1-0 behind the four-hit pitching of Matt Keough. Then came more cause for hate, Geoff Zahn yielding only three singles in a 6-0 Minnesota victory.
TEX 2-0 CHI 2-1 KC 2-1 SEA 2-1 MINN 2-1 CAL 1-1 OAK 1-2
The Milwaukee general manager, Harry Dalton, made four phone calls to Florida to advise Manager George Bamberger, who's home recuperating from heart surgery, of the Brewers' opening-game progress against the Red Sox. Thus, Bamberger learned that Milwaukee trailed by three runs, later led by two, then blew the lead in the ninth and finally won 9-5 when Sixto Lezcano hit a two-out grand slam in the bottom of that inning. Bamberger also learned by phone that in their next outing the Brewers creamed Boston 18-1. Grand slams by Cecil Cooper and Don Money in the second inning tied a major league one-inning record; the three slams in two games equaled another big-league mark. In all, the Brewers had nine homers in the two games and got nine RBIs from Lezcano. Boston's Carl Yastrzemski, playing his 20th straight opener, hit a 420-foot home run.
Three-time Cy Young Award winner Jim Palmer beat Chicago 5-3 in the Orioles' opener; but Mike Flanagan, who won the award last season, was battered for seven runs the next day as the White Sox rallied to win 8-4. Flanagan had been staked to a 2-0 lead when Ken Singleton's long drive added to his remarkable record of slugging in support of the lefthander. Since the two have been teammates, Singleton has hit 36 of his 94 homers in games started by Flanagan.
New York's Tommy John, the 1979 season's Cy Young runner-up, was bombed, too. In 4‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬® innings against Texas, John was pounded for nine hits and six runs.
Superb pitching buoyed Detroit and Cleveland. Jack Morris of the Tigers, backed by rookie Kirk Gibson's homer and triple, beat the Royals 5-1 on a three-hitter. And the Indians' Len Barker defeated the Angels 2-1.
Toronto's Bobby Mattick, at 64 the second-oldest rookie manager ever, praised John Mayberry for hitting three homers, even though the clouts came in two defeats. But the hit Mattick got the biggest kick out of was a two-run single by Roy Howell in the 11th that finished off Seattle 10-7.
MIL 2-0 CLEV 1-1 BALT 1-2 DET 1-2 TOR 1-2 BOS 0-2 NY 0-2