PITTSBURGH -- It was not the way he wanted the day to end. That's the first thing Gregory Polanco said. Yet, it was still a triumphant day for him.
"I know we lost," Polanco said after the Pirates had dropped his Major League debut, 7-3, to the Chicago Cubs. "Still, I'm excited to play my first game. It was very good."
Polanco went 1-for-5, collecting his first big league hit in the third inning, ahead of an Andrew McCutchen home run.
"It felt very good. Now I have that one, and can just play the game," he said.
Before he had a hit to his name, Polanco had a standing ovation. The early in-house portion of a crowd that would swell to 31,567 with walk-up patrons arose to welcome Polanco as soon as he left the on-deck circle in the bottom of the first.
"That made me a little nervous," he said of the reception, grinning broadly.
It was an eventful evening for the Bucs. How eventful it will become in hindsight has yet to be determined and Clint Hurdle, for one, wished for people to be mindful of that.
"I'm not going to get in front of it, I just want to see him play," said the Pirates manager, his way of discouraging jumping to any quick impressions. "He's going to be fine with every game, with every at-bat, with every inning in the field.
"You got to see that swing. To barrel that one ball up into left field, left-on-left. To get that swing off -- that was nice to see."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. Stephen Pianovich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.