Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pirates 9, Braves 4 Frazier, Nova Do Heavy Lifting

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pirates 9, Braves 4 Frazier, Nova Do Heavy Lifting

Article excerpt

ATLANTA - There was no sweat under the midday Georgia sun.

Right-hander Ivan Nova pitched into the ninth inning Thursday, falling two outs shy of his sixth complete game in 21 starts for the Pirates, who received contributions up and down the batting order as they beat the Atlanta Braves, 9-4, to split a four-game series at SunTrust Park.

"We earned a split here," manager Clint Hurdle said. "This thing could have gone the other way. Our guys battled. Our guys played with grit and guts."

After scoring seven runs in the 10th inning Wednesday, the Pirates (22-26) jumped in front with a five-run second inning against right-hander Bartolo Colon and added two apiece in the fifth and ninth. Adam Frazier hit his second three-run home run in as many games. Francisco Cervelli tied a career-high with four hits. Josh Harrison, batting .304, had three hits and a walk.

"You could tell we kind of picked up where we left off in the 10th inning last night," Harrison said. "It's good to have a day like that."

The Pirates tallied 18 runs in their last 11 innings against Atlanta. Jordy Mercer singled, doubled and walked Thursday, bringing him to 9 for 17 (.529) with two homers and six RBIs in the series. Frazier, a native of Athens, Ga., is batting .417 this month, and Cervelli is at .328.

"A few more games here might not be a bad thing for us," Frazier said, with a grin.

Nova (5-3) carried a shutout into the seventh but labored in the late innings. He was charged with four runs on 10 hits and was lifted after 8? innings. Despite spending just 67 pitches through seven innings, Nova was at 100 pitches when he was replaced by reliever Jhan Marinez. Afterward, Nova was bothered he was unable to put the game away in the ninth.

"The game almost got away from me," he said. "That can't happen."

Earlier in the series, Nova wasn't sure he would start Thursday. He tweaked his left knee while fielding a bunt Saturday and received treatment this week, skipping his regular bullpen session. …

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