Frazier’s HR Gives Cincinnati Reds 5-2 Opening Day Win Over Pirates

61. . 2. 4. 5

W: Jumbo Diaz (1-0)

L: Tony Watson (0-1)

SV: Aroldis Chapman (1)

The legend of Todd Frazier continues to grow.

Half an inning after Kevin Gregg blew the Reds’ lead and Johnny Cueto‘s dominant start, Frazier saved the day, crushing — and I mean crushing — a three-run home run into the left field bleachers in the eighth inning to put the Reds up for good, 5-2. The win was the Reds’ first Opening Day victory since 2012.

If this was Johnny Cueto‘s last Opening Day start in a Cincinnati Reds’ uniform, he certainly made it memorable. Cueto fired seven shutout innings, giving up four hits and a walk while striking out ten Pirates batters, pitching in front of Great American Ball Park record of 43,633 fans. Cueto also recorded his 1,000th career strikeout after striking out the side in the third inning.

Even a rain delay couldn’t slow the Reds’ ace down, as he returned to the mound after a 35-minute break and fired two more shutout innings.

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Cueto’s effort wasn’t rewarded with a win, however. The ball was handed over to Gregg in the eighth, who promptly blew the Reds’ lead, giving up hard-hit ball after hard-hit ball and eventually, the game-tying home run to Andrew McCutchen. Considering that Aroldis Chapman pitched two innings four times during spring training, it’s a bit baffling that Price didn’t give him the ball to start the eighth. Manny Parra and Jumbo Diaz were able to get the Reds out of the inning, but the damage was already done.

Luckily for Gregg and the Reds, the team was bailed out when Frazier followed singles from Billy Hamilton and Joey Votto with the game-winning home run, and Chapman dominated the ninth inning to pick up the save.

The rest of the Reds’ offense came in the third and fourth innings. A balk is probably the last way anyone expected the Reds to score their first run of the season, but that was exactly what happened when Hamilton was brought home on Pirates starter Francisco Liriano‘s mishap in the third. Baseball is weird.

Jay Bruce provided the Reds with their first home run of the season, a solo shot in the fourth off of Liriano, which gave them a 2-0 lead at the time. After his career-worst year last season, that homer was a welcomed sight to all Reds fans.

Up Next: The Reds are off tomorrow (boo), but return to action on Wednesday, hoping to take the opening series from the Pirates. Mike Leake is set to start for the Reds while Gerrit Cole will take the mount for the Pirates.

Next: Series preview with the Pirates