Missed opportunities doom Cubs in Opening Day loss to Pirates

Missed opportunities doom Cubs in Opening Day loss to Pirates
March 31, 2014, 4:30 pm
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Associated Press

PITTSBURGH (AP) Neil Walker homered off Carlos Villanueva leading off the 10th inning Monday, and the Pittsburgh Pirates benefited from an overturned to call to beat the Chicago Cubs 1-0 on opening day Monday.

Walker's first career game-ending homer easily cleared the Clemente Wall while his teammates rushed onto the field in celebration. It was the first opening-day walkoff homer for the Pirates since Bob Bailey's off San Francisco's Juan Marichal in a 1-0 victory in 1965.

Reliever Bryan Morris (1-0) won with the help of an overturned pickoff call in the top of the 10th under Major League Baseball's new replay system. Starter Francisco Liriano and four relievers combined for 11 strikeouts.

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Emilio 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 Jeff Samardzija, who scattered five hits over seven innings.

Travis Ishikawa had two of the six hits by Pittsburgh, which began 2014 much the same way the Pirates spent a long stretch of their breakout 2013: by riding solid pitching and a lights out bullpen to victory.

Liriano resurrected his career last season, winning 16 games despite not making his first start until May and putting together a pair of solid postseason outings. He had a dominant performance in a wild card win over Cincinnati that marked Pittsburgh's first playoff victory in 21 years.

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