Pirates 6 – Cubs 3
W: Kevin Correia (1-0)
L: Ryan Dempster (0-1)
S: Joel Hanrahan (1)
Post-Game Wrapup: Neil Walker hit a grand slam in the 5th inning, and Andrew McCutchen put the game away with a 2 run homer in the 7th inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates earned a 6-3 opening day win over the Chicago Cubs on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field.
It was the Pirates fifth straight opening day win, which ties them for the longest streak in major league baseball.
Walker’s grand slam was the Pirates first opening day grand slam since April 10, 1962.
Starter Kevin Correia (1-0) had a strong outing, pitching into the seventh inning, allowing 7 hits and 2 earned runs. Correia walked only one batter and struck out 3.
Early on Correia didn’t get much defensive help from Pedro Alvarez who in the first inning misplayed a grounder than had a throwing error that led to Starlin Castro scoring from 1st to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead.
Correia threw 92 pitches with 62 of them strikes.
Walker was huge for the Pirates going 2-4 at the plate with a grand slam, 4 RBI’s, a walk and 2 runs scored.
Walker’s 4 run shot against Ryan Dempster (0-1) came on a 3-2 pitch with 2 outs in the 5th inning as the Pirates trailed 2-0. Walker crushed the ball to right that ended up on Sheffield Avenue.
It wasn excellent at-bat for Walker and Ryan Doumit started the inning off with single to center.
A key at-bat was Ronny Cedeno drawing a walk, which led to Correia sacrificing Doumit to third and Cedeno to second.
Dempster would end up walking Tabata to load the bases and Walker made Dempster pay.
Dempster was chased from the game in the 7th inning after Andrew McCutchen hit a 2 run homer in the 7th with 2 outs. The 2-run shot pushed the Pirates lead to 6-2.
McCutchen had a strong game at the plate, going 2-for-4 with 2 RBI’s, 1 run scored and a walk.
Dempster allowed 6 hits and 6 earned runs. He had 7 strikeouts on the day but walked 6 batters, including 4 batters in the 5th and 6th innings combined. Dempster fell to 6-11 all-time vs the Pirates.
“Opening days are special, ” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “This one was significant in its own right. Four in the fifth, to back it up with two in the seventh. And we pitched better than they did today,” Hurdle said.
The Pirates only had 7 hits in the game but McCutchen and Walker beat the Cubs with 2 hits.
We got beat by two big hits today, ” Cubs manager Mike Quade said.
Joel Hanrahan pitched the 9th to earn his 1st save as the Pirates “official” new closer. Hanrahan struck out 2, allowing 1 hit.
Evan Meek pitched the 8th, also allowing 1 hit and striking out 2.
Ryan Doumit started behind the plate in place of the injured Chris Snyder who is on the disabled list due to a sore back.
Doumit had a pretty good game, going 1-for-3 at the plate with a run scored.
Defensively, can you believe this? Doumit threw out Darwin Barney trying to steal second in the bottom of the 2nd inning. For at least one game, Doumit wasn’t a problem for the Pirates defensively.
The same can’t be said for Pedro Alvarez who struggled in the field at third base and was 0-for-4 at the plate with 1 strikeout.
Pirates starter Paul Maholm will face Carlos Silva tomorrow at Wrigley. Ross Ohlendorf will start on Sunday.
The Pirates have won 11 of 16 games against the Cubs, including 6 of their last 10 at Wrigley.