Game #3 Recap – Pirates 5, Braves 4

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Updated: April 7, 2017

For the first time in 2017, Pirates baseball was played at PNC Park. After the pregame fanfare of Opening Day, the Buccos took the field behind starter Ivan Nova en route to their first victory of the season.

 

  • Ivan Nova: The Pirates starter gave up six hits in his six innings of work, and was able to wiggle out of all the high-threat situations. The lone run Nova allowed came in the top of the 5th inning, when a fielding error by Gregory Polanco allowed Emilio Bonifacio to reach second base with two outs. Nova gave up an RBI double to Ender Inciarte in the next at bat to make it a 2-1 game. In the end, that run (of which Polanco deserves a lot of the blame for) was the lone bad mark on Nova’s very strong outing.
  • Andrew McCutchen: Playing right field in front of the home fans for the first time, McCutchen shined at the plate with a mixed day in the field. Cutch reached base four times, going 3-for-4 with a walk in addition to picking up an RBI. In the field, McCutchen made an excellent sliding catch in the 5th inning, but did look uncomfortable at times.
  • Starling Marte: For the first time this season, Starling Marte was in the leadoff spot, a move that definitely paid off. Although he struck out twice, he did record hits in his other two at bats. Marte picked up two RBIs on the day and also scored one of the Pirates five runs.
  • Bowser: The local car dealership got a lot of airtime during the season’s first home game, as David Freese and Francisco Cervelli hit back-to-back “Bowser Blasts” in the bottom of the 5th inning. After hitting just a single long ball in 2016, Cervelli is already on track for a much more productive 2017.

 

  • Gregory Polanco: So far, 2017 has been simply atrocious for Polanco offensively and defensively. As mentioned above, he deserves the majority of the blame for Ivan Nova’s lone run allowed today because of an outfield error. At the plate, Polanco was worse. His 0-for-5 day saw no strikeouts, meaning he is making contact but not in the way he needs to be. His paltry .071 batting average is by far the worst on the team in this young season.
  • Wade LeBlanc: Pitching in just one-third of an inning, LeBlanc allowed three of the Braves’ four runs, all of them earned. The out he recorded came via a Freddie Freeman grounder, with the three hits coming as singles from Dansby Swanson and Chase d’Arnaud, plus a double from Nick Markakis.
  • The Fans: Actual in-person attendance was held down by the frigid temperatures made worse by strong winds. The game was mostly dry, with the exception of a few snow showers that limited visibility for short periods of time.

 

 

The home-opener weekend rolls on Saturday with Game 2 at 7:05pm. Chad Kuhl will take the ball for the first time in 2017 opposite of Braves veteran R.A. Dickey.

Fans in attendance will receive a Francisco Cervelli singing bobblehead. It will not be televised because of ROOT Sports Penguins coverage, but will be on the Pirates Radio Network.

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