The Cincinnati Reds’ beat the Pittsburgh Pirates with a walk-off single by 2010 NL MVP Joey Votto in the 11th inning early Thursday morning. Thanks in part to a rain delay, the game ended a mere 12 hours before Thursday afternoon’s first pitch.
Byrd, who was acquired via an offseason trade with the Philadelphia Phillies, had the walk-off today in the bottom of the ninth. The win completed a three-game sweep for the Reds, who finished 76-86 and in fourth place in the NL Central last season.
Pittsburgh is coming off back-to-back postseason appearances for the first time since the early ’90s. Just for reference, a young Barry Bonds won his first two NL MVPs as the star of those Pirate teams.
The Reds got their first glimpse of their new 24-year-old starting pitcher, Anthony DeSclafani. He was part of an offseason trade with the Miami Marlins, in a move that many saw as a way for Cincy to get younger and save some money.
DeScalafani told Cincinnati.com, “Just for my sake. I want to prove I’m a big league pitcher — and help this team win.” He, struck out six batters in six innings while allowing two earned runs.
Reds closer Aroldis Chapman picked up his first save of the season by striking out two batters in a scoreless ninth. That put Chapman at five strikeouts on the year as he appeared in every game of the series, allowing only one base runner. Chapman appears to be picking up where he left off last season when he set the all-time record for strikeout percentage (52.5%).
Cincinnati will stay home this weekend as the St. Louis Cardinals come to town. The Pirates will stay on the road as they travel to Milwaukee for a series with the Brewers.