The Pittsburgh Pirates rebounded from a tough one-run loss to the Braves on Sunday to split their series with Atlanta with a 9-3 win in the finale. The Bucs offense came alive and roughed up Braves' starter Mike Minor, cruising to a 9-3 win, which was powered by a pair of two-run homers.
Pittsburgh starter James McDonald had a shaky first inning, but settled in for seven and two-thirds innings to get the win. McDonald gave up a two-run shot to Freddie Freeman in the top of the first, but that was really all the damage Atlanta would do. The Pirates' starter then mowed down the Braves, setting a career high for strikeouts with 10.
After the Freeman homer, the Bucs evened it up at 2-2 in the third on a single by Josh Harrison and a sac fly by Andrew McCutchen. Pittsburgh would then go ahead for good when Pedro Alvarez smoked a two-run homer to right that traveled 400-plus feet. It was a bomb that gave him five homers on the season, already one more than he had in 74 games last year. Matching Alvarez, Yamaico Navarro hit a two-run homer just two innings later off Minor, putting the Pirates up 6-3. Navarro would add his third RBI of the night in Pittsburgh's three-run seventh that removed all doubt.
It was an impressive offensive outbreak for Clint Hurdle's club, and encouraging to see some continued power from Alvarez. The Bucs now hit the road to take on the defending champion Cardinals for a three-game set that begins in St. Louis on Tuesday. Pittsburgh dropped their first series of the season, 2-1, to the Cardinals at PNC Park.