‘A tough pill to swallow’ — Reds fall to Pirates on Opening Day

Eighth inning sacrifice fly proves to be difference for Pirates

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

CINCINNATI — A crowd of 44,063, the largest to ever witness a regular-season game at Great American Ball Park groaned and grimaced as Jake Fraley struck out to end the game Thursday.

The Cincinnati Reds lost 5-4 to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Opening Day in a matchup of two teams that lost 100 games a season ago.

“This is nothing new for any player,” said Hunter Greene, who made his first Opening Day start. “In life in general, you’ve got to deal with things like today. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but we’ve got the rest of the day to be thinking about it. Hopefully, all of us can flush it. I’m trying to flush it now, but it’s still kind of eating at me a little bit. That’s our competitiveness. We work so hard so we all take it personally. We’ve got to take it on the chin and keep going. It’s a very long season. And one game does not define us.”

Greene allowed three earned runs on five hits in 3 1/3 innings. He struck out eight and allowed five hits with one walk.

Greene left the game with runners at first and third and one out and the game tied in the fourth.

Fernando Cruz, who made his big-league debut last season with the Reds at the age of 32, replaced Greene and walked the first three batters he faced, bring in two runs. A third run scored on a wild pitch. The Pirates took a 4-1 lead.

“He’s going to be fine,” Reds manager David Bell said of Cruz, “but yeah, that was a tough day. They weren’t biting on his splitter, and that’s his pitch.”

Spencer Steer cut into Pittsburgh’s lead with a home run in the fourth. Then in the fifth, a triple by a new Red, Jason Vosler, who started at first base in place of the injured Joey Votto, scored India and Fraley to tie the score at 4-4.

The Pirates took the lead in the eighth. ONeil Cruz, who hit a home run in the third to tie the game at 1-1, hit a sacrifice fly against Reds reliever Buck Farmer to score Ji Hwan Bae from third base.

Jonathan India gave the Reds a glimmer of hope with a one-out double in the ninth but was stranded at second.

The Reds lost their third straight home opener.

“We’re confident,” Bell said. “Our team believes in each other. We’re ready to come back after the off day and play Saturday.”


Pirates at Reds, 4:10 p.m., Bally Sports Ohio, 700, 1410

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