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Friday, April 1, 2011
Opening Day knocks it out of the park

MLB: Baseball is back. Twelve teams opened up regular-season play Thursday, and the Yankees kicked things off by beating Detroit 6-3 at Yankee Stadium (It was a balmy 41 degrees outside). Mark Teixeira was the difference in the game for the Bronx Bombers, as he hit a three run shot into right off Justin Verlander in the bottom of the third. ... Over in the NL East, the Braves shut out the Nationals 2-0 in Fredi Gonzalez's debut as the Braves' manager. Thursday marked Atlanta's first regular-season game in nearly two decades without Bobby Cox at the helm. ... The defending NL Central champion Reds aren't saving the drama for September. Cincinnati's Ramon Hernandez hit a two-out, three run walk-off home run to lead the Reds to a 7-6 victory over the Brewers. Hernandez became the first player to hit a walk-off home run on Opening Day since Ryan Zimmerman did so in 2008. ... Speaking of exciting games, it took 11 innings to decide the Padres-Cardinals game in St. Louis. San Diego scored two runs in the top of the 11th to lead the San Diego to a 5-3 win over the St. Louis. ... The defending world champion San Francisco Giants fell to the Dodgers 2-1, as Los Angeles' Clayton Kershaw struck out nine batters in his first-ever Opening Day start. The nine strikeouts tied for the third-most K's by a Dodgers' pitcher on Opening Day since 1900.

NBA: The only thing dropping faster than the shots in Thursday's Lakers-Mavericks matchup were the players from the game. L.A. crushed Dallas 110-82 in a contest that pitted the second- and third-place teams in the West. Matt Barnes and Steve Blake of the Lakers, and Jason Terry and Brendan Haywood of Dallas were tossed early in the fourth quarter after a squabble under the basket. L.A.'s Shannon Brown was later was removed from the game for pushing Brian Cardinal. If you lost count, that's a total of five players who were ejected. The Lakers have now won 16 of their last 17 games. ... The NBA-leading San Antonio Spurs lost their fifth straight, their longest losing streak all season, to the Boston Celtics 107-97 Thursday night. Boston won the season series 2-0, and the Celtics became the only team the Spurs were unable to beat this season.

Men's college basketball: The NIT championship ended in a shocker. Literally. The fourth-seeded Wichita State Shockers upset top seed Alabama 66-57 to win their first-ever NIT championship Thursday night. The Shockers also made a little more history on Thursday, winning their 29th game of the season, a school record. For No. 1 seed Alabama, Thursday's loss was the sixth time the Crimson Tide have played in a NIT semifinal or final without winning the championship, tying them at with NYU and Notre Dame for the most times a team has appeared in those two games but has walked away without the title.

NHL: The Vancouver Canucks secured the best regular-season record in the NHL and earned the franchise's first-ever Presidents' Trophy with a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings Thursday night.