The Pittsburgh Pirates celebrated when Ke’Bryan Hayes started the season with a bang by hitting a home run on Opening Day, as the rookie third baseman proved he could be a catalyst for the young club.
So it’s understandable that the Chicago Cubs capitalized when Hayes left the game with what Pirates manager Derek Shelton described as pain in his left wrist, leading to a 5-1 victory Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field.
The Pirates seemed more concerned about Hayes’ health after losing his second game of the season.
Hayes helped them get off to another hot start, walking in against Jake Arrieta and scoring on a Kevin Newman single to center to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Hayes also gave the Pirates a scare when he appeared to dig his left wrist into the ground as he launched himself back to first base. Pirates coach Rafael Freitas entered the field to check on Hayes, who remained in the game until Erik Gonzalez replaced his next at-bat in the third inning.
“When talking to him when he first came out, he grabbed the knob on the swing when he turned it over. I guess the knob got a bit awkward in his hand, ”Shelton said. “It was not something I had. It was something that aggravated. The fact that he could grab his glove and play defense, we left him there to play defense. ”
The game marked the Pirates’ debut of left-handed starter Tyler Anderson, whose pronounced pause and kick to the leg can deflect a batter’s pace. Anderson had the Cubs swing 22 times, seven for strikeouts. His funky delivery also allowed Javier Báez to steal second and third base before scoring the tying run in the second inning.
“He just took the first step on it,” Anderson said.
The Cubs took advantage of Anderson on a two-run second when Baez scored on a Jake Marisnick single to right field and Marisnick scored on David Bote’s sacrifice fly for a 2-1 lead. Kris Bryant homered off Anderson in the third to make it 3-1. Otherwise, it was a solid debut for Anderson, who signed a one-year, $ 2.5 million deal in February. He pitched 91 pitches in five innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits and two walks with all seven strikeouts.
“I thought he did a good job,” Shelton said. “Coming and going, maintaining. He used his curve ball effectively when he used it. It was a good start for him. ”
Anderson came out of a tight spot in the fourth when Colin Moran swooped down to his right on a Joc Pederson grounder to first, but threw the ball behind Anderson. The bad luck continued when Jason Heyward grounded out to second baseman Adam Frazier, who was charged with his second error in as many games. Frazier tried to convert a double play, but Pederson evaded his touch and shot to get Moran out of the bag first. Frazier argued that Pederson went out of the way of the base to avoid him, but to no avail.
The Cubs threatened to score again in the fifth when Willson Contreras ran home with a grounder to Gonzalez in the third. Jacob Stallings blocked the plate with his shin guard, and his high tag sparked a trade between receivers after Contreras was called home.
Clay Holmes replaced Anderson in the sixth and delivered a 423-foot home run into the right-field bleachers for a Cubs 4-1 lead.
Right-hander Wil Crowe, acquired from Washington in the Josh Bell trade, made his Pirates debut in the seventh. He struck out Contreras but walked Bryant, then threw two wild pitches that put Bryant at third. Crowe walked Anthony Rizzo, then Baez singled to left field to score Bryant for a 5-1 lead.
Pirates right-hander Luis Oviedo, 21, acquired in a trade after the New York Mets selected him in the Rule 5 Draft in December, made his major league debut with a 1-2-3. eighth. Oviedo’s fastball touched 98 mph, and got Heyward rolled to second, Bounce rolled to third and struck out pinch-hitter Ian Happ.
“It was just an emotional place for me, especially since this is a dream that I have had since I was a child. It was very special for me, ”said Oviedo, who had never pitched above Class A before Saturday. “The situation now is filled with a lot of excitement, a lot of excitement to be able to get to that point, and that meant everything to me.”