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Pirates Start Strong in 2018 Regular Season

Kaylee Stinebiser

The Pittsburgh Pirates swept the Detroit Tigers in the first series of the 2018 regular season, followed by a win against the Minnesota Twins at their home opener at PNC Park on April 2. The Pirates ended the first week with a 6-1 record.

According to Adam Berry, a reporter for MLB.com, this record is the Pirates’ best start to a season since 1976.

After an opening-day cancellation in Detroit led to the Pirates winning both games of a double-header, the team returned to Pittsburgh to play the season’s first game PNC Park and won 5-4 against the Twins.

Pittsburgh took a five-run lead right away when Colin Moran hit a grand slam in the bottom of the first inning. It was not only his first career grand slam but also his first at-bat as a Pirate in PNC Park. The Pirates obtained Moran from the Houston Astros in the offseason in a trade deal for pitcher Gerrit Cole.

“It’s been really fun,” Moran said, according to Berry. “Looking forward to keeping it going.”

Clint Hurdle, the team’s general manager, commented on Moran’s performance. “We haven’t seen him hit a home run since he’s been a Pirate,” he told Berry. “That’s pretty cool.”

Starting pitcher Jameson Taillon earned his first win of the season after recording 16 outs. According to Berry, the nine strikeouts that Taillon recorded match his career high.

Taillon acknowledged the challenges come with playing baseball in temperatures below 30 degrees, as it was on Opening Day. “It says a lot about our character. It says a lot about the fight in these guys. That’s kind of how I think we’re going to have to win these games,” he told Berry.

The Pirates were the only undefeated team left in the National League when they lost 3-7 to the Twins on April 4. The team bounced back quickly against the Cincinnati Reds, winning three games out of four.

Clint Hurdle is optimistic about the Pirates’ start to 2018 but turns his attention to the coming games. “It’s too early for us to say anthing about this group right now,” he told Berry. “We’re going play [games] one at a time. Cliches mean things. They’re real. It’s early. We’ve gotten off to a good start. We’ve got plenty of areas to work on.”

The Pirates will return to PNC Park on April 24 to battle the Tigers again after playing a four-game series in Philadelphia from April 19 to April 22.

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