Neil Walker walkoff homer lifts Pirates past Cubs

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Pittsburgh, PA, United States (4E Sports) – Neil Walker hammered a walkoff homer in the 10th to carry the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 1-0 win over the Chicago Cubs Monday at PNC Arena.

Walker’s shot into the right-field seats beyond the Clemente Wall against Carlos Villanueva capped the Bucs’ first Opening Day walk-off win since Sept. 12, 1965, when Bob Bailey’s 10th-inning homer gave them a 1-0 win over San Francisco in Forbes Field.

“There’s 161 games left, but that’s a good way to start,” Walker said.

Bryan Morris pitched a scoreless 10th to earn the win while Francisco Liriano tossed six shutout frames, allowing four hits with three walks and 10 strikeouts.

Liriano tied Pittsburgh’s record for strikeouts in a season opener, joining A.J. Burnett, John Candelaria (1983) and Bob Veale (1965) in achieving the feat.

Jeff Samardzija was also outstanding for the Cubs, giving up five hits on seven scoreless frames with two walks and three strikeouts. Villanueva absorbed the loss after giving up the game-winning homer to Walker.

The loss spoiled the managerial debut of Rick Renteria, who also made MLB history by making the first extended instant replay challenge. He challenged a call Jeff Samardzija was out in the fifth inning. After approximately 90 seconds, the call was confirmed.

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle challenged a call in the 10th after Emilio Bonifacio was called safe when Bryan Morris attempted to pick him off, and that call was overturned.

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