Bryan Price won in his managerial debut, Ryan Ludwick and Joey Votto singled home runs, and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Cleveland Indians, 8-3, on Wednesday.
Price was elevated from pitching coach to manager when the Reds fired Dusty Baker after last season despite their third playoff appearance in four years. Price managed a game for the first time at any level.
Chris Heisey hit a two-run homer and a double in the Cactus League opener for both Ohio teams. Ludwick has recovered from a shoulder injury that cost him most of last season and limited him after his return.
Billy Hamilton, who stole 13 bases for the Reds last September, drew a nine-pitch walk and stole a base as the Reds leadoff hitter. The 23-year-old Hamilton, expected to replace Shin-Soo Choo in center field, stole second and continued to third on Yan Gomes’ wild throw.
“We just throw them out there and they get to utilize their natural aggressiveness,” Price said. “We want guys to take some risks and challenge themselves on the bases. We can see what we need to work on or what guys have more to offer than we’ve known in the past.”
Votto, who drove in just 73 runs last season from the third spot in the batting order, hit an RBI single off lefty reliever T.J House.
Ryan Raburn doubled and scored for the Indians. He won a spot on Cleveland’s roster last year with a strong showing in spring training.
Trevor Bauer, trying to earn the fifth spot in the rotation, walked the first two batters of the game. He escaped without allowing a run when Gomes caught Brandon Phillips stealing as Votto struck out. “Gomes helped him out with that throw,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.
Bauer pitched one inning.
“I felt comfortable,” he said. “I got to work with some guys in scoring position that I would prefer not to. I got it all today. I just concentrate on getting the guy out. I don’t think of competing for a job.”
Former Reds ace Aaron Harang followed Bauer on the mound for Cleveland. The 35-year-old is competing for the starting rotation after pitching for Seattle and the New York Mets last season.
The Reds and Indians share Goodyear Ballpark and play again today and Friday.