Originally posted on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 7/26/12

There was a good significant amount of buzz among Pirates fans coming into tonight’s game because of Starling Marte‘s major league debut, and I’m sure everyone’s eyes were on the rookie as he stepped in to the box for his first MLB at bat at 8:05.

He didn’t disappoint. Instead of watching the first pitch like most leadoff hitters (and certainly most hitters making their MLB debut) would, Marte went up and attacked Dallas Keuchel‘s meatball with his quick and powerful swing. The ball jumped right off the bat and well over the left-center field wall for a historic homer.

Marte became the 28th player of ALL TIME to homer on the first pitch he saw in the big leagues (here is the list). Only one other Pirate (Walter Mueller, who only hit one other career HR) accomplished the feat…in 1922. He was the 110th player to homer in his first MLB at-bat (Mueller and Don Leppert–who debuted in 1961 and hit 15 career HR’s–were the only other Pirates). Pretty awesome stuff.

The Pirates added on in the first. Andrew McCutchen singled and Garrett Jones blasted a towering bomb to put the Bucs up 3-0 quickly. Clint Barmes added a cheap HR into the Crawford Boxes in the second inning to add two more runs, and that would be enough for A.J. Burnett.

Burnett cruised with the early lead, going right at the Astros’ putrid lineup with no fear. That worked quite well for him through seven innings–Houston managed just two singles and walk in that span. He was making it look easy. He relinquished two solo homers in the eighth and had to come out, but Brad Lincoln got out of the inning and Joel Hanrahan earned a save in the ninth (to take over the league lead) despite allowing a run.

The offense didn’t do much else after the first two innings, but they didn’t need much else. Marte had a flyout to center (after a long at-bat), a ground ball single off the shortstops’ glove, and a flyout to left to round out his memorable debut.  Then he did the ROOT Sports postgame interview…in Spanish, with 3B coach Luis Silverio translating. Pretty cool. The only thing better would have been a pie in the face from Burnett.

Pirates 5, Astros 3 / Box / 2012 Record: 56-42 / Next: Friday, at Astros, 8:05

MVP: Burnett (+.158) / LVP: McGehee (-.018) / Key play: Jones’ HR

©2012 Raise the Jolly Roger. All Rights Reserved.

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