By Matthew Kruth, The Burgh Blog Writer, @theburghblog_mk
CINCINNATI – Starling Marte played hero Friday night when he hit his first career grand slam.
With the Bucs down 5-2 to the Reds with two out in the 8th, John Jaso was hit by a Ross Ohlendorf pitch. Andrew McCutchen then drew a walk. Ohlendorf then gave up an infield single to David Freese which brought Marte to the plate.
After a pitching change to bring in J.J. Hoover, Marte hammered a towering fly ball to straight away left to give the Pirates a 6-5 lead going to the bottom of the 8th.
Francisco Liriano again had trouble with commanding the zone throughout his outing. He finished the night with 5 IP, 5 H, 4 BB 3 SO.
Ryan Vogelsong made his first appearance this year and got the win after two innings of relief. He gave up two runs, one unearned, on a hit and two walks on the night.
Marte finished the night going 3 for 4 with two singles and the aforementioned grand slam. It was Marte’s first home run and the team’s first home run of the year.
Neftali Feliz pitched another scoreless inning in defense of the one run lead. He was folloed by Mark Melancon who closed the game out for his second save of the young season.
The Pirates are one of just three unbeaten teams left going into Saturday’s game. They are set to face Raisel Iglesias in game two of three of the series. Gerrit Cole is set to make his season debut. First pitch for that game is at 1:10.
Take a look at The Burgh Blog’s Series Preview for more on Saturday’s game.