The Pirates have won five straight Opening Day games, the longest active streak in the Major Leagues. 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.
Today we go back to April 5th, 2010 in Pittsburgh when the Pirates defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 11-5.
The pitching matchup in this one wasn’t your typical Opening Day duel of aces. The Pirates sent out Zach Duke to face the Dodgers’ Vicente Padilla. John Russell would bat Zach Duke 8th in the lineup in front of shortstop Ronny Cedeno.
Duke took the hill and started showing his mediocrity right away, giving up a pair of runs on a Matt Kemp single in the first. That got the sell out crowd a little down, but the Pirates wouldn’t let them stay there for long.
Akinori Iwamura led off the first inning and drew a walk. After that, Andrew McCutchen flew out in his first Opening Day at-bat. That brought up Garrett Jones who hit a 418 foot bomb out of the stadium. The ball rolled into the Allegheny River and the crowd went absolutely nuts. Garrett Jones came up again in the third and hit another home run, this time straight down the left field line. It was an unreal Opening Day moment and had Pirates faithful buzzing about what Jones had in store for them the rest of the season (unfortunately it wasn’t much).
The Pirates would score five more times in the 5th inning as Lastings Milledge doubled in Andrew McCutchen and Ryan Church hit a based loaded 3 RBI double to make the lead 7-2. After that Ronny Cedeno hit a sacrifice fly that scored Church and the Pirates were in the driver’s seat.
Zach Duke would only pitch 5 innings that day but kept the Dodgers off the board after that first inning. Jack Taschner and D.J. Carrasco teamed up to pitch a scoreless sixth before Carrasco would get into some trouble in the 7th. Evan Meek relieved Carrasco in the middle of the 7th but three Dodger runs would be charged to Carrasco before Meek could get Casey Blake to pop out for the final out of the inning. Brendan Donnelly and Octavio Dotel would pitch the 8th and 9th to limit the Dodgers to just 5 runs.
The Pirates weren’t done on offense however. With an 8-5 lead, Ryan Doumit hit a 400 foot bomb to left field plating Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones to give the Pirates 11 runs on the day. It was a great day at the plate for the Bucs, unfortunately they didn’t see many more of those kinds of offensive days the rest of the year as they would go on to lose 105 games.
Here’s the rest of the series’ posts: