PITTSBURGH (Sports Radio 93-7 The Fan) – The Pirates kickoff season number 17 at PNC Park Friday when they host the Atlanta Braves in their 2017 home opener.
The Pirates are 7-9 in home openers since opening PNC park in 2001.
Ivan Nova is expected to start in what should be an electric atmosphere.
Here’s a look at some of the most memorable home openers in recent years.
1. March 31, 2014: The Pirates were coming off their first playoff appearance in 20 years and hosted the Chicago Cubs. A sellout crowd of nearly 40,000 watched a flawless pitching performance from Francisco Liriano, who went 6 innings while striking out 10. The game remained scoreless into the 10th inning when Pittsburgh’s own Neil Walker hit a walk-off homer to send the fans home happy.
Greg Brown had the call on The Fan:
2. April 9, 2001: The Pirates returned home after an opening week road trip where they went 3-3 to open the brand new PNC Park. It was a perfect day for baseball, but the Cincinnati Reds spoiled the party, roughing up Pirates’ bullpen for 5 runs in the game’s final two innings en route to an 8-2 win. The Bucs would finish 62-100 that season.
3. April 14, 1960: In what would turn out to be one of the greatest seasons in Pirates history, the team opened the 1960 season and their 50th season at Forbes Field in style. The Pirates would blow out the Reds 13-0 in a game that saw Roberto Clemente finish 3-for-3 with 5 RBIs and Bill Mazeroski drive in 4 runs. The Bucs would finish the season 95-59 and defeat the New York Yankees in Game 7 of the World Series on a walk-off home run by Maz.
4. April 6, 1992: In what would be another great pitching duel on Opening Day, Doug Drabek threw 8 scoreless innings, while allowing just a handful of hits as the Pirates defeated the Montreal Expos 2-0. The Bucs would get their only 2 runs in the second inning on RBIs by Drabek and catcher Mike LaValliere. The Pirates would finish 96-66 that season, losing to the Atlanta Braves in Game 7 of the NLCS.
5. April 8, 2002: The Pirates would open the season 4-1 on the road before returning home for the start of the second season at PNC Park. And, they did not disappoint in their home opener. The Bucs would increase their record to 5-1 after defeating the Reds 1-0. In a thrilling game, The Pirates would get 7 1/3 scoreless innings from starting pitcher Ron Villone before the Bucs got their only run in the sixth inning on a sacrifice fly from Aramis Ramirez. The quick start would be short lived as the Bucs would once again struggle to a 72-89 season.