The first 2 Bucs up in the first inning singled off of Halladay before the All Star and two-time Cy Young Award winner retired the next 21 of 23 hitters he faced in a masterful performance on Opening Day. After the first, the only runners to reach on “The Doc” were centerfielder Andrew McCutchen with 1 out in the fourth and shortstop Clint Barmes with 2 out in the eighth, both of the hit batsmen.
Old former Phillies’ catcher and nemesis Rod Barajas took an 0-3 collar and was one of Halladay’s 5 strikeout victims.
Pirates’ Opening Day starter lefthander Eric Bedard lived up to the Bucs’ hopes for potential matching Halladay’s 0’s through six innings while giving up 4 hits and walking 1. But, in the seventh, rightfielder Hunter Pence, batting in the clean-up spot with 1st baseman Ryan Howard still on the DL, led off by lining out to shallow centerfield. Ty Wigginton, playing 1st base, touched Bedard for a single to centerfield.
Leftfielder John Mayberry Jr. followed by doubling to rightfield, with Wigginton taking 3rd base. Ruiz, perfect in 3 of his 4 plate appearances, hit a sacrifice fly to shallow right plating Wigginton and making Bedard the losing pitcher. 2nd baseman Freddie Galvis, batting eighth in the order and subbing for DL 2nd baseman Chase Utley, ended the inning by grounding out to shortstop.
“The Doc” was not only masterful on the mound, but singled to open the eighth, but was stranded along with 3rd baseman Placido Polanco who was walked with 1 out.
Closer Jon Papelbon came on in the ninth and did what closers are supposed to do: go clean on the Pirates on 10 pitches, 9 of them for strikes while striking out 1 for his first save as a Phil.
For all of Thursday’s scores in both leagues, click here.
On Sunday, the 2011 rookie of the year candidate and 2nd year hurler Vance Worley and James McDonald are scheduled to oppose each other in the rubber game of the series.
Please Note: a wrap-up of the Phillies’ spring exhibition games will follow shortly and we will discuss the 25 man Season Opening roster, Ryan Madson’s going down with a “Tommy John” elbow injury in Cincinnati and more.