Walks will haunt: Reds give away 9 free goals in 5-4 loss
CINCINNATI (AP) — Oneil Cruz homered shortly after a pitch clock violation and then drove the go-ahead with a sacrificial fly in the eighth inning, helping the Pittsburgh Pirates open the season by beating the Cincinnati Reds 5-4 Thursday.
The game was played in 3 hours and 2 minutes under new rules this season designed to speed things up. There were 15 combined walks and 26 strikeouts which contributed to the length of the game.
There were two timer violations, committed by Reds starter Hunter Greene in the third and Pirates starter Mitch Keller in the fourth. Both at-bats ended in home runs.
Keller fanned eight in 4 1/3 innings.
Reds third baseman Spencer Steer hit a solo homer at fourth.
Greene committed the Reds’ first clock violation, turning an 0-2 to 1-2 against Cruz to lead the third. Cruz hit a tying solo homer on the pitch at 3-2.
Greene, 23, became the youngest pitcher to start for the Reds on Opening Day since Frank Pastore in 1980. He threw out eight and walked three in 3 1/3 innings.
Fernando Cruz replaced Greene and allowed three runs on two walks and a wild pitch, all with the bases loaded.
Keller’s pitch clock violation happened in the fourth on a 1-2 pitch against Steer who hit the opposite pitch two pitches later.
Reds first baseman Jason Vosler, an unregistered guest at spring training, hit a two-run triple to tie the game in the fifth.
The Reds are hoping for a better start after going 3-22 to start last season. Only the 1988 Orioles got off to a worse start.
Reds: OF Nick Senzel, who underwent surgery in November to repair a broken toe in his left foot, will begin a rehab assignment at Triple-A Louisville next week. … 1B Joey Votto, who underwent left shoulder surgery in August, will begin a Triple-A rehab stint on March 31 when Louisville opens its season in Nashville.
Reds LHP Nick Lodolo who went 4-0 with a 2.16 ERA in five spring training starts, will face LHP Rich Hill, 43, who makes his Pirates debut on Saturday.