The Cincinnati Reds belted three homers while starter Nick Lodolo struck out nine over five innings to cruise to a 6-2 win over the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday.
Jonathan India drove a line drive homer to left into the teeth of a stiff wind and former Pirate Kevin Newman belted a two-run shot to left to cap a three-run first for Cincinnati.
Both homers came off the oldest player in baseball Rich Hill (0-1), who allowed three runs on three hits over five innings. The 43-year-old left-hander did manage to toss four scoreless innings, finishing with seven strikeouts and two walks.
Jake Fraley belted a three-run pinch-hit homer to right off reliever Chase De Jong to break open a one-run game in the sixth. With that blast, the Reds matched their entire pinch-hit homer total from all of 2022. Fraley also accounted for Cincinnati's lone pinch-hit homer last season.
The Pirates got the early jump on Lodolo (1-0) in the first when Connor Joe singled to center off the outstretched glove of shortstop Jose Barrero, scoring Andrew McCutchen.
Lodolo fielded his position well in the second, helping himself work out of his own two-out jam.
After Lodolo snared an Austin Hedges line drive back at him for the second out, Ke'Bryan Hayes doubled off the right field wall on a wind-aided fly ball. Lodolo fielded a Bryan Reynolds comebacker cleanly to end the inning.
The Pirates cut the Cincinnati lead to one, 3-2, in the third as Lodolo labored to get through the inning. Oneil Cruz's soft ground ball single found the gap on the right side of the infield and scored Carlos Martinez with one out.
Lodolo, who struck out Rodolfo Castro and Ji Hwan Bae to end the rally, needed 29 pitches to finish the third inning.
Lodolo was not pitch efficient, needing 82 pitches to work through the first three innings. But he managed to get through the next two innings on just 27 pitches and finished with nine strikeouts on 109 pitches, allowing two runs on seven hits.
Lodolo combined with relievers Ian Gibaut, Buck Farmer, Reiver Sanmartin and Alexis Diaz to retire the final 16 Pittsburgh batters.
--Field Level Media