Walker led off the bottom of the 10th inning with a home run to
give the Pirates a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs in the season
opener for both teams Monday.
Walker, a Pittsburgh native, hit a full-count pitch from Carlos
Villanueva over the 21-foot wall in right field at PNC Park. It was
the first walk-off win in a home opener for the Pirates since Bob
Bailey homered in the 10th inning off Hall of Fame pitcher Juan
Marichal in 1965 in a 1-0 victory at Forbes Field.
The home run capped an emotional day for the Pirates as they closed
the book on a 2013 season that saw them post their first winning
season and earn their first postseason berth since 1992. Center
fielder Andrew McCutchen received his National League Most Valuable
Player award in a pre-game ceremony and manager Clint Hurdle was
presented with the NL Manager of the Year award.
"This is a special day for this team, this organization," Walker
said. "We've come a long way. The last 20 years have been a tough
thing. To get to where we are is pretty amazing. Special moments
like today, being part of a pregame like that and having a finish
like that is pretty special."
The loss spoiled the major league managerial debut of the Cubs' Rick
Pirates left-hander Francisco Liriano and four relievers combined on
a six-hit shutout. Right-hander Bryan Morris pitched the 10th for
Center fielder Emilio Bonifacio had four of the Cubs' hits.
Liriano pitched six scoreless innings and tied a franchise Opening
Day record with 10 strikeouts. Bob Veale set the mark in 1965 and it
was matched by John Candelaria in 1983 and A.J. Burnett last year.
Liriano scattered four hits and three walks while holding the Cubs
hitless in seven at-bats with runners in scoring position. The Cubs
put runners on first and second with no outs in both the fifth and
sixth failed but Liriano closed the door each time to keep the game
"We had opportunities," Renteria said. "We had good at-bats but we
weren't able to drive in any runs. We worked Liriano pretty good but
he got out of tight spots. Our guys held their own against him."
Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija was not quite as dominant but just as
effective, blanking the Pirates for seven innings. He allowed five
hits with two walks and three strikeouts.
The game also included the first-ever replay challenge, which
occurred in the fifth inning.
[to top of second column]
Samardzija bunted with runners on first and second and no outs.
Liriano fielded the ball and quickly threw to third base for a force
out then third baseman Pedro Alvarez completed the double play by
throwing Samardzija out by a step.
The umpires contacted the instant replay center at Major League
Baseball Advanced Media headquarters in New York. Following a short
delay, home plate umpire and crew chief John Hirschbeck ruled that
Samardzija was out.
"It was a combination of Samardzjia's reaction and what we were
looking at," Renteria said in explaining why he challenged the call.
"We're still trying to figure out what clear and compelling evidence
is. It's a work in progress."
Hurdle won a challenge in the eighth inning when the video review
showed Bonifacio was picked off first base by reliever Mark
"I'm confident in these umpires' abilities because you get to the
point where you find out they're very good and they've got a good
perspective about it," Hurdle said. "I think we're all just trying
find out a way to use it properly and efficiently to help the game."
NOTES: All-time home run leader Barry Bonds presented Pirates CF
Andrew McCutchen with his 2013 National League Most Valuable Player
award in a pre-game ceremony. Bonds received a mixed reaction from
the crowd of 39,833, the largest for a regular-season game in PNC
Park's 14-year history. Bonds won the first two of his record seven
MVP awards with the Pirates in 1990 and 1992. ... 1B Travis
Ishikawa, who made the team in spring training as a non-roster
player, started in place of 1B Gaby Sanchez and went 2-for-3 as
manager Clint Hurdle wanted an extra left-handed hitter in the
lineup against Cubs RHP Jeff Samardzija. ... Renteria said he slept
so well during the night before his debut that he needed to be
rousted by a wakeup call Monday morning at the team hotel. ...
Following an off day Tuesday, the three-game series resumes
Wednesday night with Cubs RHP Edwin Jackson facing Pirates RHP
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.