BRADENTON, Fla. (93-7 THE FAN) — Andrew McCutchen finally hit a home run and the Pirates finally won a game at McKechnie Field – 4-3 over the Rays on Friday.

But the big news came after the game when manager Clint Hurdle announced that Francisco Liriano will start Opening Day against the St. Louis Cardinals April 3 at PNC Park.

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“Frankie’s done it, his third consecutive Opening Day start,” said Hurdle.

Hurdle also says they don’t want to “push” Gerrit Cole, who will make his first Grapefruit League start Sunday.

Hurdle says Cole wouldn’t make a 6 inning, 100 pitch start until or about April 3, and says since he’s been in Pittsburgh, he’s never had a pitcher make a regular season start without reaching those numbers in Spring Training.

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Hurdle says, “Gerrit is okay with it” and understands the situation. Hurdle wouldn’t begin to speculate when Cole’s first regular season start would come.

As for the game and McCutchen’s line shot into the left field parking lot, “It’s always a good feeling to get a hold of one,” said McCutchen, who had entered the game 1-for-11 this spring.

Juan Nicasio pitched 3 shutout innings, allowed 3 hits, with 3 strikeouts and a walk. He has now pitched 6 scoreless innings this spring. Mark Melancon took all of 8 pitches to record another 1-2-3 inning. Intriguing utilityman Cole Figueroa played shortstop and went 2-for-2.

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Jeff Locke will try to extend to 4 innings Saturday against the Tigers in Lakeland. Listen on Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan starting at 1 p.m.