Royals 4, Tigers 3 (10 innings)

…because Todd Jones has blown his first save of 2008.

The struggling Bobby Crosby hit a bomb last night off Wevie Stonder II ; so far today at McAfee, the Angels’ John Lackey and the A’s Danny Haren have allowed just one hit apiece through 2 innings. Chemistry buffs and ethicists alike will note that Gary Matthews Jr. is hitting just .226 thus far, and he’s had some troubles this week with the swirling wind in the Oakland outfield.

Because there’s nothing quite like day baseball in a dome, the D-Rays are leading the Orioles, 3-1, after 3 innings. Rocco Baldelli hit a solo HR in the first inning off Eric Bedard, but more importantly, did nothing to let anyone in attendence know he’s in cahoots with William Wainright.

About to start the season managing the indie league South Georgia Peanuts, Wally Backman (above, middle) is still playing the same old tune, this time for Newsday’s Jim Baumbach.

It’s hard for Backman not to feel that there’s something beyond his checkered past as to why no major-league team has been willing to give him his second chance yet, considering his considerable history as a successful minor-league manager.

“As far as I know, the Diamondbacks have told everybody that they paid me my money, two years guaranteed,” Backman said. “From what I think and from what I’ve been told by some of the organizations, they thought I was still getting paid. Is that why an organization didn’t take me? I don’t know.”

But Backman never was paid “ “not a nickel” “ and the Diamondbacks felt justified in doing so because, in their eyes, the contract was not finalized. “Could I go to court over it? Sure I could go to court over it,” he said. “But the reason I didn’t do that is because I didn’t want to get myself blackballed out of the game.”