Pittsburgh, PA – Anthony Rizzo slugged a two-run homer and Jeff Samardzija tossed eight scoreless innings as the Chicago Cubs silenced Pittsburgh, 3-1, in the 2013 opener for both clubs from PNC Park.
Samardzija (1-0) struck out nine and walked one while serving up only two hits, and Kyuji Fujikawa recorded the final out of the contest to earn his first career save.
Carlos Marmol was sent in to lock up the game in the ninth, but recorded only one out and allowed an RBI single to Pedro Alvarez and walked Gaby Sanchez before leaving with two on and one out.
James Russell came on and retired Neil Walker on a fly to right and Fujikawa induced a game-ending fly out from Russell Martin.
Welington Castillo added two hits and drove in the other run for the Cubs, who are looking to reverse a 61-101 finish last season.
Andrew McCutchen scored the lone run for the Pirates, who ended up 79-83 in 2012 despite contending for the NL Central crown until late July.
In his first career Opening Day start, A.J. Burnett (0-1) allowed six hits and three runs in 5 2/3 frames. He struck out 10 and walked one in defeat.
Starlin Castro singled to left with one out in the first and Rizzo followed with a shot to right center for a 2-0 Chicago edge.
"It's my first Opening Day...and to get the win is good to get off on the right note," Rizzo said.
In the sixth, Burnett plunked Nate Schierholtz with one down and paid for it when Castillo followed with an RBI double to make it 3-0 for the visitors.
Samardzija retired the last seven batters he faced and only allowed one runner past second for the duration of his start.
"The last two times we've seen him, he's been a beast out there," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Samardzija. "He's had command of everything out of his hand."
At 35 years, two months, and 29 days old, Burnett became the oldest Pirates pitcher to start on the season's first day since Rick Reuschel, at 36 years of age, did so in 1986 ... Pittsburgh had won five of its last six season openers ... Chicago batters fanned 15 times ... Prior to the game, the Cubs announced the following roster moves: placed pitcher Scott Baker on the 60-day disabled list; placed pitcher Matt Garza and infielders Ian Stewart and Darwin Barney on the 15-day disabled list; selected the contracts of pitcher Hisanori Takahashi and infielders Alberto Gonzalez and Brent Lillibridge from Triple-A Iowa and optioned outfielder Brett Jackson to Iowa; designated pitcher Robert Whitenack for assignment.