By: Jim Tsapelas
On a cold but sunny Sunday afternoon in the Steel City of Pittsburgh, the first game of MLB’s Opening Day found the visiting St. Louis Cardinals losing by the score of four to one to the hometown Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Pirates out pitched and out hit the Redbirds. Pirates’ starter Francisco Liriano (1-0) threw six innings of work, allowing three hits and striking out ten. Cardinals’ starter Adam Wainwright also worked six innings, giving up six hits, three earned runs, and struck out three.
A combination of Pirates’ hurlers kept the Cards scoreless until the top of the ninth. Pirates’ closer Mark Melancon allowed a lead-off single to the Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina. Melancon hit Cardinal second baseman Kolton Wong with a pitch. Redbird newcomer Jedd Gyorko hit into a ground out; moving Molina to third and Wong to second. Brandon Moss, pinch hitting, struck out swing. Molina scored on a single by Matt Carpenter. With two on and two outs, Matt Adams filed out to center to end the game.
The Pirates lit up the score board in the bottom of the second when Gregory Polanco scored on a single by the Pirates’ pitcher Liriano. Also in the inning a John Jaso single scored Jordy Mercer. The Pirates scored again in the bottom of the sixth when Josh Harrison hit into a sacrifice double play, scoring Francisco Cervelli. Pittsburgh capped their game scoring in the bottom of the eighth when Polanco scored on a double by Mercer.
The Cardinals’ Matt Holliday made his first MLB start at first base. Prior to the start of Sunday’s game all of Holliday’s 13, 838 & 2/3 innings were played exclusively as a leftfielder. Holliday’s tenure at first was short-lived. Holliday returned to leftfield in the second inning. Tommy Pham, who started in left, left the game with tightness to his left oblique.
Making their MLB debuts for the Cardinals were Jeremy Hazelbaker who pinch hitting struck out for Wainwright in the seventh. “The Stone Buddha”, Sewng Huan Oh, pitching the seventh inning walked two and struck out two. Former Cardinal David Freese made his debut for the Pirates going two for four and striking out once.
Tuesday, both teams have the luxury of a day off. Wednesday Michael Wacha (0-0) takes the mound for the Cardinals. Jonathan Niese (0-0) takes the hill for the Pirates at a 6:05 CDT game at PNC Park.
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