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Walker's homer lifts Pirates over Cubs 1-0

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 31, 2014 at 5:17 pm •  Published: March 31, 2014
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The largest regular season crowd in PNC Park's 14-season history (39,833) roared its approval. The din only grew louder when Walker's drive to right field finished halfway up the seats. That capped a giddy day for a team freed from two decades of losing after a breakout 2013 in which it won 94 games and made the playoffs for the first time since 1992.

Former Pittsburgh star Barry Bonds presented centerfielder Andrew McCutchen with the NL MVP award that McCutchen earned last year. Bonds received mixed reviews, though the vitriol that accompanied his late career visits to Pittsburgh while playing for San Francisco was noticeably absent.

Bonifacio went 4 for 5 for Chicago, but the Cubs were 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position and wasted a fine start by Samardzija, who scattered five hits over seven innings.

"I was happy with the way I kept the ball down in the strike zone," Samardzija said. "It helped to get the double plays because they made the overall outing look a little better than it really was."

Travis Ishikawa had two of the six hits by Pittsburgh.

Starter Francisco Liriano tied a team record shared by three other pitchers for most strikeouts on opening day by fanning 10 in six innings. While he struggled with his command — needing 104 pitches to get 18 outs — he was sharp when he needed to be and Pittsburgh's bullpen did the rest.

NOTES: Pirates C Chris Stewart took batting practice and says he is coming along ahead of schedule in his rehab from knee surgery. Stewart believes he can beat the timetable of late April for his return. ... Chicago OF Brian Bogusevic was unavailable because of ankle soreness. He is expected to be ready to play Wednesday. ... The teams are off Tuesday. Chicago's Edwin Jackson faces Pittsburgh's Charlie Morton on Wednesday night.