ATLANTA (AP) — Ivan Nova pitched into the ninth inning, Adam Frazier hit a three-run homer and the Pittsburgh Pirates pounded Bartolo Colon for a 9-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Thursday.
The Pirates split the four-game series at SunTrust Park after losing the first two contests. This one was easy after Pittsburgh put up five runs in the third inning, capped by Frazier’s third homer this season.
Nova (5-3) threw 100 pitches in 8 1/3 innings, giving up three hits in the ninth and missing out on becoming the first pitcher in the big leagues with three complete games this season. It was the first time in three career starts against Atlanta that he has surrendered an earned run.
Colon (2-5) had another tough outing. One day after his 44th birthday, he allowed seven runs and 10 hits in a five-inning stint, raising his ERA to 6.96.
An All-Star last season for the New York Mets, Colon has been charged with five or more runs in half of his 10 starts with the Braves.
David Freese and Francisco Cervelli started the second-inning outburst with back-to-back singles. With one out, the Pirates jumped ahead when third baseman Rio Ruiz bounced a throw to first on Jordy Mercer’s infield single, the ball rolling far enough away that Cervelli was able to score.
Gift Ngoepe’s infield single brought home another run before Frazier launched a two-out homer into the right-field seats, giving Pittsburgh a 5-0 lead. The previous night, he reached base safely in all six plate appearances, including a homer and four walks.
Left fielder Josh Harrison made a diving grab in the third inning to deny Colon his first hit of the season.
Harrison raced toward the line, stretched out for the catch and slid along the grass on his stomach. Rolling to his back, he held up his glove for the umpires to see before flipping the ball back to the infield while still on his back.
Colon smiled on his way back to the dugout. He is hitless in 13 at-bats.
Pirates OF Gregory Polanco (strained left hamstring) was activated from the 10-day disabled list before the game. OF Danny Ortiz was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis.
Pirates: RH Chad Kuhl (1-4, 5.85 ERA) will start the opener of a weekend series against the New York Mets. He is coming off one of his best showings of the season vs. Philadelphia, allowing one hit in five scoreless innings of a 1-0 victory last Sunday.
Braves: LH Jaime Garcia (1-3, 4.07) makes his ninth start of the season when Atlanta begins a West Coast road trip at San Francisco on Friday night. He is 3-1 with a 2.88 ERA in eight career appearances against the Giants.
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