CINCINNATI (Ticker) -- The inauguration of Great American Ball Park did not go according to plan for the
belted three home runs in a six-run second inning, including a two-run blast by former Red
, and went on to post a 10-1 victory over Cincinnati in the first game played in its new stadium.
Without an Opening Day victory since 1998 in Montreal, the Pirates touched Cincinnati starter
for six runs in the second on Sanders' shot to left-center field and back-to-back blasts by
Making his first start on Opening Day, Pirates starter
(1-0) held the Reds in check, allowing just three hits and an unearned run in 6 1/3 innings with three walks and three strikeouts.
"Benson was outstanding," Pittsburgh manager
said. "We got him some runs early and it helped him relax. We think he can handle the job, but having said that, he's still on the learning curve to show us and himself that he can do it."
Haynes (0-1) lasted just four innings, surrendering six runs and five hits while walking three and striking out three.
Ken Griffey Jr. provided the only excitement for Reds fans, stroking a double in the bottom of the first inning for the first hit in the new ballpark.
The Pirates were fitting opponents to open the new stadium, as the Reds were visitors in the first game at Pittsburgh's PNC Park in 2001.
"It was disappointing," Reds veteran shortstop
said. "One game or not, it was Opening Day. We got beat up out there. It is not fun."
Entering the game with an 18-9 record against Cincinnati on Opening Day, the Pirates took the lead when Sanders followed
's one-out double by belting a 3-2 offering over the fence in left-center for the first homer in Great American Ball Park history.
"I was seeing the ball extremely well," Sanders said. "It was a great day. It was an exciting combination of Opening Day, a new stadium and playing in Cincinnati, where I started. Opening Day is a big deal here."
, another former Red, singled and Benson drew a two-out walk before Lofton swatted a 1-0 pitch into the right field seats for a 5-0 Pirates lead. Six pitches later, Kendall capped the inning with a solo blast to right-center.
"I had one bad inning," Haynes said. "I thought I had Pokey picked off but didn't get the call. Then I walk the pitcher. It's tough giving up six runs in one inning."
"It was a case of trying to put the ball in play," Lofton said of his home run. "I just got a good swing on it. I'm not going to hit home runs all the time, but I'll always try to hit the ball hard."
Sanders and Lofton, both 35, signed with Pittsburgh as free agents after losing the World Series in seven games with San Francisco last season.
"We both played our last game in the World Series," Lofton said. "We have to show we can still play this game. We want to show how much game we have left. Anyone who saw us play in the World Series, if they say we can't play after that, I wonder about them. But like they say, 'One man's junk is another man's treasure.'"
"One thing that I've learned over 12 years is that the last thing anyone has to worry about is the critics," Sanders added. "You just focus on doing what you need to do."
Cincinnati broke through in the top of the third when Haynes scored on a bases-loaded walk to
. But reliever
issued a free pass to Reese in the fifth, forcing home
to make it 7-1.
Simon's RBI double and a sacrifice fly by Reese off
in the seventh increased the Pirates' advantage to eight runs, and Giles closed out the scoring in the eighth by plating Lofton with a double.
"The run production was what I hoped for or dreamt about," McClendon said. "What's important is that of the first six or seven runs, our third and fourth hitters weren't involved. It takes the pressure off."
The win was Pittsburgh's first against the Reds on Opening Day since April 17, 1951, snapping a three-game losing skid.