By C. Trent Rosecrans
For just the third time in the 130 years of Pittsburgh baseball history, the Pirates (and Alleghenys) led off a game with back-to-back home runs on Sunday. It was the second time this season Edinson Volquez has allowed back-to-back homers to lead off a game.
Sunday it was Andrew McCutchen and Jose Tabata who went back-to-back. Volquez also gave up back-to-back shots to Rickie Weeks and Carlos Gomez of the Brewers on opening day.
So far this season Volquez has allowed 13 first-inning runs and the Reds are 3-0 in games he's started. Sunday Volquez not only allowed the two home runs, but also gave up a double and walked three, allowing four runs as the Pirates batted around. Volquez then settled down, holding the PIrates without a run in their next four innings, until exiting following a Garrett Jones homer and a walk to Ronny Cedeno in the fifth. Reliever Jordan Smith allowed a double to pinch hitter John Bowker to score the run and close the book on Volquez. His final line was 5 2/3 innings, five hits, six runs (all earned), six walks and six strikeouts. He earned a no-decision in the Reds' 7-6 loss to the Pirates.
Volquez's first-inning ERA is 29.25 this season, while it's just 1.93 in every other inning.
The Reds' 27-year-old right-hander is 2-0 so far this season, winning his last two outings. Here's what he's done in the first inning of his four starts this season:
• March 31, 7-6 Reds victory over Milwaukee: 3 runs, 3 hits, 1 walk
• April 6, 12-4 victory over Houston: 4 runs, 4 hits, 3 walks
• April 11, 3-2 victory over San Diego: 2 runs, 2 hits, 1 walk, 1 hit batter
• April 17, 7-6 loss to Pittsburgh: 4 runs, 3 hits, 3 walks
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