The Pirates have won five straight Opening Day games, which is tied for the longest active streak in the Major Leagues (actually they’re one behind to Seattle now, who has already played and won their Opening Day game this year). We are fast approaching the season’s beginning and the Pirates will put their streak on the line against the Philadelphia Phillies on April 5th. Until then, I’m writing this five post series taking a look back at the Pirates last handful of Opening Day victories.
For this post we’re going back to Monday, April 6th in St. Louis where the Pirates beat the Cardinals 6-4 to start their 2009 season off right.
The starters for the game were Paul Maholm and Adam Wainwright. It was a season in which Wainwright would finish the year 19-8 with a 2.63 ERA and be 3rd in the Cy Young voting, however the Pirates weren’t going to let him start the year with a victory.
The first batter of the season for the Pirates was Nyjer Morgan, who singled to left field. Wainwright would get out of the first inning without letting Morgan score and the clubs would stay scoreless until the 3rd inning. Paul Maholm gave up a pair of runs in the bottom of the third on hits from Albert Pujols, Khalil Greene, and Ryan Ludwick. He would get a timely double play to escape a jam and limit the damage.
Adam Wainwright would throw five scoreless innings before the Pirates finally scratched their way onto the score board. Andy LaRoche, Brandon Moss, and Paul Maholm all drew walks to load the bases for Nyjer Morgan, who hit a 2-run single to tie the game up. Freddy Sanchez was the next batter up and he also singled, but Maholm was thrown out at home to end the inning.
Maholm would hold the Cardinals off the board for the rest of his outing. His final line was 6.2 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K.
Tyler yates came on to pitch the 8th inning and gave up a home run to Ryan Ludwick to start off the inning. He got a pop out and then walked Chris Duncan before being removed for John Grabow, who would not be able to strand Duncan as he scored on a David Freese sacrifice fly. The Cardinals took a 4-2 lead to the 9th inning as Jason Motte came on to try and get his first save of the season.
Freddy Sanchez got the 9th started off right with a double to left field. After that Nate McLouth would strikeout and Ryan Doumit would groundout, bringing the Pirates down to their final out. Adam LaRoche came up with a clutch single to right that scored Sanchez. The next batter, Eric Hinske would double to left to put runners on 2nd and 3rd with his team down just one run. Motte plunked Brandon Moss to load the bases up for Jack Wilson, who delivered in a big way with a bases clearing double. The Pirates took a 6-4 lead in a dramatic 9th inning that I still remember clearly to this day.
With a two run lead, Matt Capps would come in and close it out giving up just a single to Albert Pujols and the Pirates were 1-0 once again.
Here’s the rest of the series’ posts: