With the temperatures dropping on the bitter cold field the Pirates met the Cincinnati Reds, attempting to avoid the 3-game road series sweep. Zach Duke took the mound for the Pirates after having his April 5th start pushed back due to a split fingernail. Former Pirate, Victor Santos started for the Reds.
Last years NL Batting Champion Freddy Sanchez made his belated season debut for the Pirates, having missed the first 5 games of the season nursing a sore knee.
The Pirates scored first, in the 4th inning, thanks to a RBI double by Brad Eldred, scoring Xavier Nady from first. They continued in the 5th with a 2-run Jack Wilson Home Run. In the 6th, they linked together doubles from Jose Bautista and Freddy Sanchez, chasing Santos from the mound, and increasing the lead to 4-0.
The Reds battled back in the bottom of 7th, with a Ken Griffey Jr. single scoring runners from second and third. The 2 RBIs moved Griffey up to 21st all-time in Runs Batted In with 1,610. Juan Castro later doubled, scoring Griffey, and pulling within one, 4-3.
The 8th saw Eldred increase the Bucs lead to 5-3 with a solo homer. Then in the 9th, Jason Bay’s deep shot put the score to 6-3.
Salomon Torres sent the heart of the Reds line-up down in order, preserving the Pirates win, and picking up his 4th save of the season.
Sanchez went 2 for 4, with a walk and a run, in his season debut.
The Pirates (4-2) will meet the St. Louis Cardinals (2-4) on Monday for their home opener in the newly upgraded PNC Park.