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Pirates Beat Tigers In Home Opener 5-4

After a 2-4 road trip to begin the season, the Pittsburgh Pirates returned home to PNC Park for a three game Interleague series against the undefeated Detroit Tigers.

Gerrit Cole pitched six solid innings as the offense hit three homeruns, beating the Tigers 5-4 in front of a sold out crowd at PNC Park.

Cole was masterful today, giving up one run on three hits with two walks and eight strikeouts. He was nearly perfect through the first six innings…but ran into some trouble in the seventh inning and had to be pulled for Jared Hughes, who got out of the inning with minimal damage. After Tony Watson pitched a perfect eighth, Mark Melancon got the job done in the ninth…barely. He surrendered three runs, but did eventually get the final out of the game to seal the victory for the Bucs.

It didn’t take long for the Pirates to take the lead this afternoon. On the very first pitch from Anibal Sanchez, Josh Harrison hammered a solo homerun to deep right center to give the Bucs an early 1-0 lead. Andrew McCutchen’s sacrifice fly to right scored Harrison in the third inning, and the Pirates led 2-0 until the seventh inning.

The Tigers threatened in the seventh inning, knocking Cole out of the game. After Miguel Cabrera led off with a single and J.D. Martinez walked, Yoenis Cespedes singled to load the bases with no outs. Hughes relieved Cole and did an incredible job, limiting the Tigers to just one run. Nick Castellanos grounded into a double play, and Alex Avila fouled out to end the threat with the Pirates in front 2-1.

Pittsburgh responded with a pair of long balls in the bottom half of the inning. Pedro Alvarez belted a solo homerun to deep right center and, later in the inning, Corey Hart hit a two run bomb to deep left center to put the Bucs in front 5-1.

Unfortunately, this game ended much closer than expected. Melancon ran into serious trouble in the ninth, giving up three runs. Cabrera’s RBI double scored Ian Kinsler, and Martinez later hit a two run homerun to cut the lead to 5-4. But Melancon buckled down, getting Castellanos to ground into a double play, and then striking out Victor Martinez to end the game.

After a difficult road trip to start the season, this was exactly the type of game the Pirates needed in front of their home crowd. They beat a quality team this afternoon, and got this first home stand of the season off to a solid start. The Tigers and Pirates will meet back up tomorrow evening for the second game of the series at PNC Park. Shane Greene will take the mound for Detroit against A.J. Burnett for Pittsburgh.

Record vs. Tigers: 1-0

Record in Interleague Play: 1-0

Record at Home: 1-0

Overall Record: 3-4

 

And…

As Always…

Let’s Go Bucs!

Chad Carlson

Co-Editor of Fans From The Stands, Pirates' Beat Writer For Armchair Report, Sports writer for AMN, SteelTownRock And Music City Encore Editor