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Cincinnati native has perfect debut for Reds on Opening Day

Mar. 29—CINCINNATI — Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell joked with Brent Suter before Opening Day, asking him, "Do you have anybody here today?"

Bell knew Suter, a 2008 graduate of Archbishop Moeller High School in Cincinnati, would have many family and friends at Great American Ball Park on Thursday. There was a chance he would pitch for his hometown team for the first time.

Suter didn't have to wait long. He got the ball in the eighth inning with the Reds leading the Washington Nationals 7-2 and pitched two perfect innings in an 8-2 victory at Great American Ball Park.

Suter's 5-year-old son, Liam, accompanied him to a postgame press conference outside the Reds clubhouse. Liam sat in his dad's lap as he answered questions. Then a reporter asked Liam what he thought of his dad's performance.

"It was good," Liam said. "Daddy is a great baseball player."

"Thank you, buddy," Brent said.

Suter, 34, is a ninth-year big leaguer. He debuted in 2016 with the Milwaukee Brewers and spent seven seasons with them. The Colorado Rockies selected him off waivers in November 2022. Last season, he had a 3.38 ERA in 57 appearances.

The Reds signed Suter to a one-year, $2.5 million deal in January. He allowed six runs in 7 1/3 innings in six appearances in spring training but got his 2024 season off to a good start on Opening Day.

"It was surreal," Suter said. "I got out there, and I was really thankful to get this opportunity to pitch at home on Opening Day. I think this was my first Opening Day outing. So I've never experienced that Opening Day energy. It was a lot of fun. I just wanted to get outs quickly. It took a lot more pitches than I would have maybe hoped, but no one got on base and I was able to shut it down. The offense did their thing all day. The defense was electric. And Frankie (Montas) was unbelievable. So it was a really good day for the Reds."

The Reds enjoyed an off day Friday and resume their series against the Nationals at 4:10 p.m. Saturday with Hunter Greene on the mound. It will be hard for any of the other pitchers in the starting rotation to top the performance by Montas, who threw six scoreless innings in his Reds debut.

Nick Martini, though, was the big star on Opening Day. He hit a two-run home run in the second inning and a three-run home run in the third as the Reds built a 7-0 lead.

Perfect weather added to a memorable day in Cincinnati in front of a crowd of 44,030. The Reds ended a three-game losing streak on Opening Day. This was the first Opening Day victory in front of the typical sold-out stadium since March 28, 2019, when the Reds beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3.

The day started with plenty of pomp and circumstance. Former Reds Pokey Reese, Sean Casey, Dmitri Young and George Foster had roles in the pregame festivities. Marty Brennaman, the longtime radio voice of the Reds, was honored 50 years after calling his first game on 700 WLW.

Two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters from the U.S. Army Reserves 8-229th Assault Helicopter Battalion out of Fort Knox, Ky., performed a pregame flyover just as the national anthem, performed by Marlana VanHoose, ended.

"The national anthem singer was awesome," Suter said, "and when she hit that note up high and then you can hear the helicopters coming, it was like goosebumps through and through. It was so cool. Then the crowd was going wild. Just knowing like, this is my dream being lived out, I was so thankful. I had my family here, and my brother flew in. This was a really special day."

SATURDAY'S GAME

Nationals at Reds, 4:10 p.m., Bally Sports Ohio, 700, 1410