Pirates’ Ngoepe dazzles in historic 1st start

The Gift just keeps on giving.

In his first career start Friday night, Gift Ngoepe, who earlier this week became the first African-born player to appear in an MLB game, made history once again. He went 3-for-3 with a pair of walks to lift his Pittsburgh Pirates to a 12-2 victory over the Miami Marlins while becoming just the 13th player ever to safely reach base five times in his second big-league contest.

Batting in the eighth spot in the series opener at Marlins Park, Ngoepe – a 27-year-old native of South Africa who spent parts of nine seasons in the minors before debuting with the Pirates on Wednesday – notched a pair of singles, a triple, and drew two walks. That made the infielder one of just seven players to get five plate appearances and reach base each time in his second MLB game.

Players with 5 PA, 5 times on base in 2nd MLB game

Already in high demand from the media, Ngoepe, who boasts an .800 average and 2.075 OPS through two career games, can expect more interview requests if he continues to rake.

“I’ve done quite a few (interviews),” Ngoepe told Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune with a laugh earlier this week. “I knew when I signed my contract, that being the first one from a country (South Africa) and a whole continent, that all this publicity was going to happen. It mustn’t change me. I must be the same person that I am. That’s my theme: Be who you are.”

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