By Ed Skirtich
Several thousand fans and I celebrated a Pittsburgh Pirate victory over the Atlanta Braves, 5-4, at the home opener at PNC Park on Friday, April 7.
Three factors happened that made the Pirates victorious.
First, I watched Pirates right fielder Andrew McCutchen have success at bat as he came through in the clutch. At the plate, McCutchen went 3 for 4 with an RBI single in the 3rd inning.
In addition, McCutchen’s shift to right field went smoothly because he played great defense in the outfield.
Also, new center fielder Starling Marte made me and Pirate fans party because he swung the bat well at the plate.
Marte’s single in the 4th inning and double in the 7th inning drove in two runs, which helped in the Pirates victory.
Another factor to the Bucs win was an effective outing from Pirates starting pitcher Ivan Nova. He only gave up one unearned run in six innings. Nova looked brilliant on the mound striking out Braves and making pitches so the Braves batters hit into double plays.
It was neat watching Pirates third baseman David Freese and Pirate catcher Francisco Cervelli hit solo back to back home runs in the 5th inning. It gave the Bucs a 4-1 lead.
Marte’s hit in the 7th inning made the score 5-1.
After that, bad weather and fierce winds didn’t bother us in the right field seats in the upper deck of PNC Park because the Bucs had a large lead.
The score became Pirates 5 and Braves 4 in the top of the 9th inning when closer Tony Watson came into pitch. Watson made the Pirate win elementary to all of us by shutting down the Braves with no hits and no runs in the 9th inning to earn his first save of the 2017 Major League Baseball season for the Pirates.
Happenings Throughout The Baseball Game
I watched several Pirates highlights from previous World Series in 1960, 1971, and 1979 to 2011 through 2016 on the big, bright new scoreboard.
Then I heard recorded peppy organ music from the late Vince Lascheid that kept the crowd rowdy and cheerful rooting the Bucs to victory.
Also we enjoyed hearing rowdy songs which boomed over the loudspeakers with music selections like “Jump,” “All Right Now,” and “Get Ready.”