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Ramirez, making the switch to third base from shortstop, had an especially rough night. He drew scattered boos when he pulled up rather than dive for a grounder to his left, and he failed to throw out Furcal on a bunt that went for a hit. Ramirez also struck out with a runner aboard in the ninth to finish 0 for 4.
Both teams began the season with a new look. The Marlins, anticipating better attendance and higher revenue in their new home, acquired three All-Stars in an offseason spending spree. The Cardinals, coming off a thrilling late-season charge to the World Series title, lost slugger Albert Pujols to free agency and La Russa to retirement.
La Russa visited with Matheny before the game. Also on hand was baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, who said his reaction to the ballpark was, "Wow."
Among the eye-catching features is the colorful home-run sculpture beyond the center-field wall, but the Marlins failed to activate it, although Giancarlo Stanton did send two flies to the warning track.
The retractable roof, which is expected to be closed for all but about 10 games, was opened 30 minutes before the first pitch, revealing a nearly full moon on a 79-degree evening. Surprise guest Ali delivered the first pitch, which Ramirez gently took from the champ's hand.
The first pitch from Johnson to Rafael Furcal caught the outside corner for a called strike. Furcal then grounded to new shortstop Reyes for the first out.
Cardinals newcomer Carlos Beltran followed with the first hit, a sharp single to right. He took third on a double by Lance Berkman, and Freese drove in both runs with a two-out single.
Furcal's two-out RBI single in the second made it 3-0, and a 50-foot groundout by Daniel Descalso brought home an insurance run in the eighth.
NOTES: The Marlins drew 41,237 for last year's home opener, then went on to finish last in the NL in attendance for the seventh consecutive year. ... Before the game, Guillen said Ramirez has a chance to be the NL MVP. ... The only no-hitter on opening day was thrown in 1940 by Hall of Famer Bob Feller for the Cleveland Indians against the Chicago White Sox. ... Lohse pitched five shutout innings in his only other opening-day start, which was in 2008.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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