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Cincinnati Reds fall to Pittsburgh Pirates 5-4 on Opening Day

A comeback was mounted, but late small-ball by Pittsburgh did the deed.

Milwaukee Brewers v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

A brutal Top of the 4th helped doom the Cincinnati Reds in their 2023 opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates, as four consecutive walks - the first by starter Hunter Greene, the latter three by reliever Fernando Cruz - left the Reds in an early 4-1 hole. Though they battled back to level the score 4-4 eventually, Ji-Hwan Bae manufactured a run via a walk, steal, sac-bunt, and sac-fly in the Top of the 8th to give the Pirates a 5-4 lead they would not relinquish.

It was a spoiler on Opening Day, really, as Greene began the game looking as dominant as a pitcher could be. He fired dozens of 100+ mph heaters past Pirates hitters, getting strikeouts as 8 of the first 10 outs of the game, but a walk a Bae double and walk to Austin Hedges on his 83rd pitch of the game in the Top of the 4th began his undoing. Fernando Cruz was summoned and promptly walked another trio of Pirates in a row, and a wild pitch sandwiched in there left the Reds in said 4-1 hole.

A rocket of a solo homer by Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game Spencer Steer helped begin the Reds climb back into contention, and an eventual 2-run triple by Jason Vosler eventually tied things up, but the Reds bullpen simply could not pull off the miraculous despite scoreless 1.2 IP efforts from both Alex Young and Derek Law.

A disappointing 5-4 loss on a day when the entirety of Cincinnati was finally able to show up and show out in vintage Opening Day fashion. 161 games still to go, of course.

Tony Graphanino

[Link to Interactive FanGraph WPA chart & box score]

Other Notes

  • Steer walked twice alongside his massive solo homer, a truly excellent outing for the rookie.
  • Greene’s final line was ugly as his inherited runs both scored - 3.1 IP, 5 H, 3 BB, 3 ER, 8 K on 83 pitches. The stuff, per usual, was exceptional though.
  • Jonathan India singled, doubled, walked, and scored twice from the leadoff spot. It was a very vintage performance from him, one that hopefully portends much more on the way.
  • Jake Fraley had a pair of hits and a walk and continues to look the part of a potent lefty bat in the middle of the order when healthy.
  • Reds pitchers walked 9 Pirates. Walks Will Haunt, our rebranded podcast, seems like a pretty self-explanatory plug here.
  • Will Benson went 0 for 4 with 4 K in his Reds debut.
  • Nick Lodolo will be on the mound on Saturday when the Reds and Pirates continue their series. First pitch in that one is set for 4:10 PM ET.
  • Tunes.