The Cincinnati Reds finished off a 3-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates to open up the 2015 MLB season, taking them down 3-2 on Thursday afternoon.
Pittsburgh had taken a 2-0 lead mid-way through the contest, with Pedro Alvarez leading off the 5th on a single and later scoring to give them their first run, then connecting on a solo homer in the 6th.
In the bottom of the inning, Pirates starting pitcher A.J. Burnett did what he usually does – thoroughly dominate for the first time or two through the order (5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K) and then run very abruptly run out of gas.
In this case he allowed a lead-off single to pinch-hitter Skip Schumaker who was then erased on the front-end of a fielder’s choice ground-out by Billy Hamilton.
Hamilton then scored on Joey Votto’s 2nd homer in as many days, tying the game.
Badenhop, Diaz and Chapman combined for three shutout innings out of the Cincy bullpen, taking the game still tied 2-2 into the bottom of the 9th.
The other series hero, Todd Frazier, led off with a double off of Scahill. (Frazier finished game one with a walk-off homer and then homered again in the 1st inning of game 2.) After Frazier advanced to 3rd on a slow grounder to Kang at shortstop, the Bucs intentionally walked Jay Bruce to set up the potential double play.
With the infield in at the corners and the outfield playing shallow, Marlon Byrd lifted a fly ball into shallow(er) right field, with Frazier retreating back to 3rd base as Gregory Polanco came in to make the catch.
One problem… The ball went off of Polanco’s glove, skittering 10 feet behind him and allowing Frazier to stumble back towards the plate and score the game-ending run.
A tough opening series for the Bucs, who are a pretty popular pick to either win the Central or at least take a Wild Card spot in the National League.
Hamilton, by the way, had two more stolen bases to up his season total to 6.
|1-1||Chicago||Wood, T (0-0, -)|
|3-0||Colorado||Matzek (0-0, -)|
|3:10 PM CT|
|1-1||St. Louis||Lackey (0-0, -)|
|3-0||Cincinnati||Marquis (0-0, -)|
|6:10 PM CT|
|0-3||Pittsburgh||Locke (0-0, -)|
|0-3||Milwaukee||Fiers (0-0, -)|
|7:10 PM CT|