Game 1: Jones’ Blasts Powers Bucco Offense

Zach Duke warms up
Zach Duke warms up before the start of yesterday's game - Matt Bandi/PLC
Garrett Jones clubbed a pair of homers and drove in three runs. Ryan Church doubled home three and Ryan Doumit contributed a three run dinger as the Pirates won on Opening Day for the fourth straight year.

Zach Duke, hitting in the 8 hole, was lifted for a PH after tossing five innings and allowing a Duke-like two runs. He also – very Duke-like – whiffed one hitter.

Dodgers starter Vicente Padilla failed to pitch five innings. He gave up both taters to Jones plus two doubles in allowing seven runs in 4-1/3.

The Pirates had a 8-2 lead thanks to three RBI apiece from Jones and Church. But the Dodgers came back with three in the seventh. Newcomer D.J. Carrasco gave up three runs while retiring just one batter in the 7th. Evan Meek was summoned to put out the fire and gave up a run scoring ground out after giving up a double to Matt Kemp. He then got Casey Blake to pop out to end the inning. LA also threatened in the 8th off of another newcomer – Brendan Donnelley. He brougth the tying run to the plate with one out after allowing consecutive singles. But he whiffed Russell Martin and Andre Ethier to end the inning. Doumit hit a two out dinger off of George Sherrill in the 8th and the fifth Pirate reliever of the night – Octavio Dotel – pitched a scoreless 9th to end it.

The Good
Jones’ two homer day

Getting a run or a hit from 7 of the starting 8 (only Andy LaRoche missed but he did reach via HBP)

Winning four straight on Opening Day

The Bad
Carrasco gave up a hit, a walk and an HBP en route to allowing three runs.

The Other
I went back as far as www.baseball-reference.com would let me and could not find another Opening Day in which three Pirates knocked in three or more runs.

As noted above, skipper John Russell batted Zach Duke in the 8th spot. The last time a Pirate pitcher hit anywhere but 9th was Duke back on 7/30/08. Russell spent most of July 2008 putting the pitcher in the 8 spot.

Andrew McCutchen and Ronny Cedeno each swiped a bag. The last Opening Day in which the Pirates stole two bases was 1997 when Jermaine Allensworth and Tony Womack accomplished the feat.

This was the first Opening Day start for McCutchen, Jones and first baseman Jeff Clement.

Seven players made their Pirates debut – Church, Clement, Akinori Iwamura, Carrasco, Donnelley, Dotel and Jack Taschner.

Six of the starting eight were not on the Opening Day roster last year.

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