Major League Baseball began their 2023 season on Thursday, and the Pittsburgh Pirates hit the road to begin a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ballpark. This was an exciting back and forth game that saw both teams with opportunities to grab a win. In the end though it was Pittsburgh earning a 5-4 opening day victory.
Cincinnati took an early 1-0 lead in the first when Tyler Stephenson grounded into a double play to score Jonathan India. The Pirates answered in the third to tie the game on a Oneil Cruz solo home run to right center. Pittsburgh then plated three runs in the fourth to take a 4-1 lead. The first run scored on a bases loaded walk by Bryan Reynolds. That was followed up by an Andrew McCutchen bases loaded walk. A wild pitch by Reds pitcher Fernando Cruz allowed Cruz to score.
Cincinnati cut into that lead on a Spencer Steer solo home run to left center in the fourth. They would then tie the game in the fifth when Jason Vosler drove in a pair with a triple to right. The go ahead run for the Pirates would come in the eighth when Cruz hit a sac fly to left to bring home Ji Hwan Bae.
Mitch Keller made the start for Pittsburgh and would allow four runs on six hits with eight strikeouts and four walks over 4.2 innings. He was decent for much of the day, but ran into trouble in the fifth. Dauri Moreta came on in relief and would walk two batters, while striking out three in an inning of work. He was replaced by Rob Zastryzny, who covered 1.1 innings with one strikeout. Colin Holderman pitched the eighth, allowing a hit and striking out a batter. The win would go to David Bednar after he worked the ninth inning, striking out two batters and giving up one hit.
Leading the Pirates offense today was Bae with two hits and Cruz with two RBI. The Reds offense was led by India and Jake Fraley who each had two hits. Jason Vosler led them with two RBI. Cincinnati starter Hunter Greene led the team with eight strikeouts over 3.1 innings, but he tied Cruz with three walks apiece.
This series will resume on Saturday at 4:10pm. Rich Hill will make his first start in a Pittsburgh uniform, while the Reds will counter with Nick Lodolo. It would be great to see the Pirates earn a series win and take the first two games of the year from their division rival.
Record vs. Reds: 1-0
Record vs. N.L. Central: 1-0
Record on the Road: 1-0
Overall Record: 1-0
Let’s Go Bucs!