Even with the cold temperatures on the North Shore, the Pirates offense didn’t continue the deep freeze of scoreless innings. Pittsburgh was able to muster five runs against the Atlanta Braves today.
The offense started once the third inning began as Andrew McCutchen netted his second hit of the game with an RBI single to drive in Starling Marte. Marte was the next to put runs on the board when he hit in Jordy Mercer in the fourth. Both, Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte had a rough time at the plate in Boston but awoke in today’s game. Marte went two for four with two RBI’s while Cutch broke out with three hits in four attempts while also drawing a walk.
The offense didn’t stop there as David Freese and Francisco Cervelli hit back-to-back home runs in the fifth. Smack talk between Ryan & DiNardo has already started swirling around Cervelli’s ISO due to their Over/Under bet they placed this offseason.
Ivan Nova made a fantastic start to his 2017 season going six strong innings. He managed to strike out four while only allowing six hits and one unearned run. Even more exciting is the fact that he once again did not allow a walk making it a total of just three in 70.2 career innings with the Buccos! Let’s not get too carried away with this early season outing, but Nova has sure demonstrated through his tenure with Pittsburgh that he can become a very reliable pitcher.
Atlanta didn’t go away quietly, though, as they found a way to tag Wade LeBlanc for three runs in just 0.1 innings. Nick Markakis and the ex-Red, Brandon Phillips, were able to get to LeBlanc to drive in those runs. With the score now 5-4, Daniel Hudson entered the game to clean it up with the help of a fantastic double play between Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer. Felipe Rivero also pitched a clean 7th inning before LeBlanc/Hudson gave way to Tony Watson who earned his first save of the season with a scoreless 9th inning.