CLEVELAND — It was just about perfect, but you have to play the game.
In truth, the action on the field might be the least memorable part of Friday's Guardians home opener, which ended with a 4-1 Cleveland loss to the San Francisco Giants. It was a night filled with the usual pomp and circumstance that ushered in a new era of baseball in Northeast Ohio.
A sellout crowd of 33,469 (the largest at Progressive Field since 2019) wore a healthy mixture of Guardians and Indians gear as the team took the field on the heels of a four-game winning streak. The largest cheer may have come for José Ramírez, who earlier in the day was announced as the club's first $100 million player.
As April 15 is Jackie Robinson Day, all players for both teams wore a blue No. 42 on their uniforms. But this also marks the 75th anniversary of Larry Doby breaking the American League color barrier with Cleveland, and in honor of the occasion, the late Hall of Famer's son Larry Jr. caught the ceremonial first pitch.
The man who threw that ball was none other than Tom Hanks, whose first big breaks as an actor came at the Great Lakes Theater Festival in the 1970s. The Hollywood legend wore Doby's No. 14 as he walked out to the field, joined by Wilson from his hit film "Cast Away."
But when the game started, it was all about Giants starter Carlos Rodón, who no-hit the Indians last season as a member of the Chicago White Sox. This time, the 29-year-old allowed just one run on two hits over seven strong innings, striking out nine to get his first win in San Francisco.
While the Guardians' offense managed just three knocks, San Fran's lineup did just enough with home runs by Brandon Crawford. Joc Pederson, and Joey Bart. Zach Plesac (0-1) allowed the first two runs over 5 1/3 to take the loss.
Although it's far too early to even be paying attention to these things, the defeat also puts 4-3 Cleveland a game behind Chicago for first place in the AL Central. They will be back in action tomorrow evening as Cal Quantrill (1-0, 3.60 ERA) takes the mound against the Giants' Anthony DeSeclafani (0-0, 4.91)
What follows is a comprehensive live blog of all of today's events, from the pregame to the final out. The most recent updates are closest to the top.
Konnor Pilkington makes his Major League debut with a scoreless inning, and José Ramírez gets his 1,000th career hit on a one-out double. That's about as good as it gets for the Guardians, though, as Camilo Doval gets the save in a 4-1 Giants win.
GIANTS 4, GUARDIANS 1: Anthony Castro takes the mound, but the Giants extend their lead on a rocket two-run homer by Joey Bart. Sam Hentges is forced to come in to get the final out.
Tyler Rogers replaces Carlos Rodón went seven strong innings (two hits, nine strikeouts) and sets the Guardians down one-two-three. We head to the ninth.
GIANTS 2, GUARDIANS 1: Anthony Gose comes in to pitch for Cleveland and promptly hits a batter and walks another. Bryan Shaw comes on with two out, and after issuing a walk to load the bases strikes out Brandon Crawford to get out of it.
In the bottom of of the sixth, the Guardians finally get on the board after a José Ramírez walk and a Franmil Reyes single lead to an Owen Miller sacrifice fly. But that's all they get, and with two innings to go, it's now a 2-1 ballgame.
GIANTS 2, GUARDIANS 0: Joc Pederson gets San Francisco's second solo home run of the night, this time a blast to dead center. Trevor Stephan relieves Zach Plesac, who allowed two runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings while striking out four.
After Stephan sets down two in a row, the Guardians got the tying run to the plate with two out, but Steven Kwan struck out to end the inning.
A leadoff single by Joey Bart marks the only hit of the inning as the Giants cling to a 1-0 lead. The highlight came on a diving catch by Myles Straw to end the top of the frame.
After an easy showing from Zach Plesac, Steven Kwan is hit in the head by a pitch but is able to remain in the game. José Ramírez then gives one a ride to left but comes up short, and Franmil Reyes grounds into a double play to end the inning.
Zach Plesac gets out of a jam after letting two base runners get on, but the Guardians go one-two-three again. It remains 1-0 Giants a third of the way through.
GIANTS 1, GUARDIANS 0: San Fran strikes first as Brandon Crawford knocks a solo homer into the right field stands. Steven Duggar also cracks a double, but Zach Plesac strikes out the side to limit the damage.
A two-out double by Owen Miller is not enough to get things back to even, and Cleveland trails through two.
Zach Plesac allows a leadoff single before retiring the next three, but the Guardians go in order in the bottom of the frame, and we remain scoreless.
7:06 p.m.: Tom Hanks threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Larry Doby Jr., and a special guest joined him on the mound.
6:55 p.m.: As the lineups are announced, José Ramírez gets a raucous ovation after signing his new contract.
6:37 p.m.: A look at some of the new (and old) signage around Progressive Field.
6:20 p.m.: We have a Tom Hanks sighting!!!
5:41 p.m.: The gate have opened and the crowd is making its way into the stadium! Don't forget: We have two big sporting events tonight, as across the street the Cavaliers will be taking on the Atlanta Hawks for a spot in the NBA playoffs.
4:36 p.m.: Some big names have been speaking to Jim Donovan and Nick Camino this afternoon.
3:30 p.m.: Even hours before game time, the Guardians are already hard at work preparing for the action.
The team also made a bit of a significant move, activating Josh Naylor from the injured list following his recovery from a gruesome ankle injury a year ago. He will start at first base tonight and bat seventh.
Reliever Konnor Pilkington was originally sent down to the minors to make room on the roster, but just minutes later, infielder Yu Chang was placed on the IL, and Pilkington is now on his way back from Columbus.
3 p.m.: Our pregame coverage is officially underway! Watch Jim Donovan, Nick Camino, and others interview franchise figures both past and present NOW on WKYC.