Game One – Cubs 0, Pirates 1 – 10 innings
WP – Bryan Morris (1-0) LP – Carlos Villanueva (0-1) Save – None
Neil Walker provided the lone highlight of the day for either team with the first walk-off home run of his career. In front of a regular-season record crowd of 39,833 at PNC Park, Neil Walker led off the 10th inning and launched a 3-2 pitch from Carlos Villanueva over the 21-foot wall in right field for the game winner.
The Cubs had numerous opportunities to push runs across the plate. The Cubs put the leadoff runner on base in six of the 10 innings and had runners on first and second with no outs in the fifth and sixth innings. The Cubs finished the day 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base.
Emilio Bonifacio (4-for-5 with a double and a stolen base) recorded four of the Cubs’ six hits and the Cubs only extra basehit of the game. Bonifacio stole a base but was picked off first in the 10th inning after Clint Hurdle asked for a replay review and the call on the field was overturned. Nate Schierholtz (1-for-4) and Junior Lake (1-for-4 with a sac bunt) collected the Cubs other two hits. Pirates’ pitching struck out 11 batters on Monday and issued four walks.
Jeff Samardzija was very, very good on Monday afternoon. Samardzija struggled with his command a little early in the game before he settled in. Samardzija became the first Cubs’ starter since Lon Warneke (1933-34) to put together scoreless starts on consecutive Opening Days.
Jeff Samardzija gave up five hits with two walks and three strikeouts in seven shutout innings. Samardzija threw 89 pitches, 54 for strikes and was the beneficiary of three double plays.
The Cubs’ pen limited the Pirates to one walk before the Walker blast off Villanueva in the 10th. Pedro Strop, Justin Grimm and James Russell combined on the two hitless, scoreless innings.
Rick Renteria asked for the first review in the fifth inning after Samardzija bunted into a 1-5-3 double play. Samardzija made it a close call but it was not as close as the Cubs may have thought. Samardzija did a poor job of getting the bunt down and it could have cost him a run. The Cubs gave away too many outs on Monday with bunt attempts.
The Cubs defense had a good game. The team turned three double plays behind Samardzija over the first six innings of the game … Barney, Castro to Rizzo in the second, Bonifacio to Rizzo in the third and Castro to Rizzo in the sixth.
The Cubs lost the first game of the season and are 1-4 on Opening Day since 2010.
Tuesday is a scheduled off-day for the Cubs. The 2014 season resumes on Wednesday night (6:05pm CDT) in Pittsburgh. Edwin Jackson is scheduled to face Charlie Morton.