by Kaylee Stinebiser
The Pittsburgh Pirates returned to PNC Park with a 5-4 win against the Atlanta Braves on April 7 for the first home game of the 2017 season, despite the snowy, chilly weather in the Steel City. After losing the first two games of the season to the Boston Red Sox and seeing the third game of that series be postponed due to rain, the Pirates first game in Pittsburgh was also their first mark for the 2017 win column.
The Pirates led the entire game after they struck first in their half of the third inning with an RBI from Andrew McCutchen (#22). Another run scored for the Pirates in the fourth inning.
The Braves got one run on the board in the top of the fifth inning, but the Pirates rallied in their half. Third baseman David Freese (#23) and catcher Francisco Cervelli (#29) hit back-to-back home runs to give the Pirates a safer three-run lead.
“A lot of good things are going to happen this year,” Cervelli told MLB.com reporter Adam Berry.
The Pirates matched their active offense with important defensive plays. McCutchen made an impressive catch in his new position as right fielder, and short-stop Jordy Mercer (#10) turned two double plays — one in the fourth inning, and one in the eighth that stopped the Braves’ 3-run rally.
It was a crisp 37 degrees when Ivan Nova (#46) threw the first pitch. He would remain the winning pitcher at the game’s end. The stadium froze for an entirely different reason, however, when Freese fell to the ground after being hit in the collarbone by a ground ball next to third base.