The 2012 campaign between Tampa Bay and New York in the American League East Division started just as expected, and ended in an even more spectacular fashion.
The duo of Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria excelled at the plate, despite facing one of the American league's most dominant aces in CC Sabathia.
Longoria could not miss as he stood in the batter's box, hitting 3-for-3 including a solo homer in the bottom of the third inning.
Longoria added another run to his flawless night at the plate when Pena wasted no time in making Sabathia pay early in the game. In the first inning, Pena Launched a ball over the fence with the bases loaded.
As if the grand slam on Opening Day was not enough to make this list, Pena added to his Opening Day resume with quite a bit of heroics.
In the bottom of the ninth, after Desmond Jennings led off with a single and Ben Zobrist tripled to score the tying run, Mariano Rivera intentionally walked two consecutive batters to load the bases.
In steps Pena.
To set up the heroics, one must know that Rivera had converted 27 consecutive saves against the Rays, and 60-of-61. Pena had also gone 0-for-11 lifetime against Rivera.
All of that was irrelevant to Pena, as he smashed a ball of the left-center field wall for his walk-off RBI—totaling five for the day.
The Rays gathered in the middle of the infield, celebrating and mauling Pena with congratulations. There was no better way to begin the season long battle of the American League East.