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WATCH: Paul Skenes Strikes Out First Two Batters He Faces

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Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Paul Skenes throws the pitch that resulted in a solo home run by Tampa Bay Rays Amed Rosario in the fourth inning of a spring training baseball game in Port Charlotte, Fla., Monday, March 4, 2024. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

PITTSBURGH — Paul Skenes took the mound at PNC Park for his major-league debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates against the Chicago Cubs on Saturday.

The rookie right-hander wasted no time making a strong first impression in front of a starved fanbase on the banks of the Allegheny.

The first batter Skenes faced was Cubs designated hitter Mike Tauchman. On the final pitch of a six-pitch at-bat, Skenes recorded his first strikeout on a 101 mph fastball.

As an encore, Skenes struck out Cubs right fielder Seiya Suzuki on three pitches — a first-pitch ‘splinker’ and a follow-up slider set up a swing and a miss on a well-located slider at the knees which generated an awkward looking swing and miss.

Skenes certainly lived up to his reputation as a flamethrower. Of the 10 fastballs he threw in the inning, nine registered 100+ mph, with the fastest clocked at 101.9.

Entering the game, Pirates’ starters had only recorded two pitches of 101.0+ mph since data started being kept in 2008, both by Gerrit Cole

After two strikeouts to begin his career, Skenes walked Cody Bellinger before Christopher Morel flied out to the warning track in center to end the inning.

Skenes is now officially in the books as a major-leaguer, and the Pirates are hoping he adds quite a few similar-looking chapters.

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