4-12-22 – By Gary Morgan – @garymo2007 on Twitter
We have not experienced a proper home opener since 2019.
Baseball was struck by COVID-19 and one of the casualties was losing the pageantry, the hope, the clean slate that opening day always brings home or away.
On this sunny day in Pittsburgh though, 412 day, at 4:12 PM Jose Quintana would throw out the first pitch and this time PNC Park dressed in her bunting was host to a near capacity crowd.
Quintana would pitch 5 1/3 innings in this one, tossing 71 pitches and giving up one run a solo shot to Seiya Suzuki.
All in all he looked solid and the Bucs played some great defense behind him, especially Ke’Bryan Hayes who began two 5-4-3 double plays in this tilt.
Suzuki would get another off of Anthony Banda in the 7th to extend the Cubs lead to 2.
Bryan Reynolds hit the first homerun and scored the first Pirates run of the home slate with one swing of the bat.
Kevin Newman came up about 10 feet short of tying the ballgame in the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs but alas, the Bucs fall 2-1 to the Cubs.
News & Notes
- When David Bednar struck out Suzuki in the 9th inning the swing and miss was only the 2nd recorded instance of it in Suzuki’s young MLB career.
- The Pirates only scored on the Bryan Reynolds solo shot to day, but they weren’t without chances. Runners were left stranded at second 3 times and Cole Tucker had a crack at each one of them. As promising as his Spring was, he’s certainly not brought it North with him as of yet.
- Kevin Newman who has his well up until today missed a double by less than a foot and he was convinced it was fair, even standing on second for an uncomfortable amount of time. He’s quite aware of the pressure to perform.
- Despite the performance on Sunday scoring 9 runs the Pirates are not built to do super well against left handed pitching. That played out today as Drew Smyly mystified the lineup for all five of his innings.
- I’m very confused by the Cubs choosing to hit Ian Happ 8th in the lineup. He’s easily their most consistent hitter, one would think you’d want him in shouting distance of Suzuki.
- Back at it tomorrow….weather permitting of course. Craig will have the story.