Raise the Jolly Roger!
The team did not waste any time putting runs up on the scoreboard, leading off the game with an Adam Frazier walk and a Ke’Bryan Hayes home run to open the long ball account for the Pirates this season.
Ke'Bryan Hayes takes the Professor deep!!! pic.twitter.com/bgFVVLX2e5— Alex Fast (@AlexFast8) April 1, 2021
The Pirates never trailed after that, but there were a few close calls.
Chad Kuhl, who drew his first Opening Day start, found himself in a jam early in the first with the bases loaded, but the Cubs managed to score just one run in the frame.
Kuhl only lasted three innings, but after he handed the ball off to the bullpen, the relievers did their job.
Duane Underwood Jr., Clay Holmes, Sam Howard (today’s winning pitcher) and David Bednar all pitched hitless innings to give the Pirates the lead late in the game.
On offense, the Pirates managed to add runs in the second, fifth and seventh innings with an RBI from Stallings in the fifth and a pair from leadoff hitter Adam Frazier in the second and seventh.
Frazier definitely shined in his 2021 debut, going 2-4 with a pair of RBI’s and plating two of the five Pirates runs today.
The Pirates did give their fans a scare or two late in the game after surrendering a run in the eighth to make it 5-3 and Rich Rodriguez kept things interesting in the ninth with a walk and a wild pitch. But Rich Rod was able to strike out Javier Baez and Jason Heyward to end the game and give the Pirates win #1 on the young season.
It’s far from a perfect product, but it was definitely refreshing to see some of the Pirates bright spots play well on Opening Day with Hayes and the deep bullpen.
The Buccos and Cubs rest tomorrow, but resume action Saturday with Tyler Anderson on the mound making his Pittsburgh debut and Jake Arrieta making his return with the Cubs. First pitch is set for 2:20 EST.