Todd Frazier fuels big Reds comeback

CINCINNATI -- Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver's preferred formula for winning baseball games during his days running the dynastic Baltimore Orioles in the 1960s and 1970s was "pitching and three-run homers."

The 2015 Cincinnati Reds have a long way to go before resembling those vaunted Orioles teams, but for one day, there was a hint of familiarity.

That it was Opening Day -- an unofficial holiday in Cincinnati, complete with a parade, during which school absences are winked at -- made it that that much sweeter.

The Reds opened the 2015 season by allowing a 2-0 lead get away before coming right back with Todd Frazier's three-run homer to pull out a 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ball Park.

Frazier hammered Tony Watson's 1-1 pitch 432 feet into the second deck with one out and two on in the eighth inning to snap a 2-2 tie. Andrew McCutchen tied the score with a 383-foot, two-run homer off of Kevin Gregg in the eighth, ruining the right-hander's Reds debut.

"That was huge," said Frazier, who was last season's National League Home Run Derby champion at the All-Star Game and went on to set career highs with 29 homers and 80 runs batted in for a Reds team that finished fourth in the National League Central. "We talk about finishing games. I was the guy today. It will probably be somebody else next time. It shows how resilient we are. Guys were picking each other up."

Frazier and second-year manager Bryan Price would have both been happy with a sacrifice fly with Billy Hamilton on third base after his first steal of the year and one out, but Frazier delivered much on a fat pitch from left-hander Watson (0-1).

"Right down the middle," Watson said. "Not where I wanted to be. It's tough on Opening Day when you want to get out of the chute with a win. We fought back with Cutch's home run, then giving up a three-run home run is tough."

McCutchen now has 21 career home runs and 50 RBIs against Cincinnati. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle watched his center fielder extend his Great American Ball Park hitting streak to 11 games, which includes five home runs.

"He has a comfort level here," Hurdle said. "He's hit some big homers late."

This one cost Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto the win, but he still set an Opening Day career high with 10 strikeouts while allowing just four hits and one walk in seven innings. He allowed no runner past second base in his fourth Opening Day start.

"First, I want to say everything I do this year I dedicate to my mom," Cueto, speaking through assistant trainer Tomas Vera, said. Cueto left spring training for a few days to return to his Dominican Republic home when his mother had open-heart surgery. "I talked to her today. She's doing great, outstanding. This game was for her. Everything was low. I was able to keep it down. Everything went the way I wanted it to."

Price found Cueto's performance even more remarkable since he turned in two more innings after a 35-minute rain delay between the fifth and sixth innings.

"I'm not surprised," Price said about the dominance of Cueto, a 20-game winner and Cy Young Award runner-up in 2014. "It's like he picked up where he left off last year. He went through the rain delay and he was just phenomenal. We didn't anticipate him being that sharp."

Hamilton scored from third on Francisco Liriano's balk in the third inning and Jay Bruce lasered a ball 403 feet into the right-field seats in the fourth. Bruce hit a career-low 18 home runs while dealing with left knee problems in 2014.

Jumbo Diaz got the final out of the eighth inning to log his first career win. Aroldis Chapman pitched a perfect ninth for the save.

The crowd of 43,633 was a record for a regular-season game at Great American Ball Park, adding to the festive atmosphere that the rain couldn't douse.