ATLANTA — Pittsburgh Pirates hitters picked up where they had left off in the late going the previous night and that was more than enough support for Ivan Nova against the Atlanta Braves.
Adam Frazier had a three-run homer in a five-run second inning and Francisco Cervelli tied a career high with four hits to back Nova, who pitched into the ninth inning of 9-4 Pirates victory on Thursday.
Nova (5-3) worked 8 1/3 innings in beating the Braves for the second time this season. He was charged with four runs on 10 hits, but was in command until tiring in the ninth and losing his chance for a third complete game this season.
The victory gave the Pirates a split of the four-game series after they had scored twice in the ninth inning to force extra innings and then seven times in the 10th — hitting three consecutive homers — for a 12-5 victory Wednesday night.
Bartolo Colon, who turned 44 on Wednesday, came in with a 5-2 record and 1.94 career record against the Pirates, but so far this has been a season of struggle for the winner of 235 major league games in his first season with the Braves.
Frazier’s blast with two runners on climaxed the five-run second inning. The left-handed hitter picked on a fat 0-1 pitch and sent a drive over wall in right-center field for his third homer of the season — all three-run blasts.
Jordy Mercer’s two-run double in the fifth was the 10th and final hit Colon (2-5) allowed in a rough outing that left him with a 6.96 ERA. Worse yet, opponents are batting .321 against him.
The Braves had just four base runners until the seventh, when they finally broke through against Nova on an RBI single by rookie Rio Ruiz, who had three hits, following a double by Matt Adams.
A leadoff double by Danny Santana led to a Braves run in the eighth before the Pirates padded their lead in the ninth on Cervelli’s two-run single off reliever Sam Freeman.
Brandon Phillips and Ender Inciarte had RBI singles in the ninth for the Braves, with Phillips’ hit chasing Nova.
Mercer was 2-for-4 with a walk, finishing the series 9-for-17 with two homers and six RBIs.
The Pirates finished with 13 hits. Josh Harrison was 3-for-4 with a double and a walk.
NOTES: RHP Josh Collmenter, who gave up three consecutive homers in the Pirates’ seven-run 10th inning Wednesday, was designated for assignment by the Braves. … RHP Matt Wisler was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett by the Braves and was perfect in the sixth and seventh innings against the Pirates. … OF Gregory Polanco (left hamstring strain) was activated from the 10-day disabled list by the Pirates and OF Danny Ortiz was optioned back to Triple-A Indianapolis. … OF Andrew McCutchen was out of the Pirates’ lineup for a second straight game. He had a pinch-hit single Wednesday to break an 0-for-15 streak. … The Braves begin a nine-game road trip at San Francisco on Friday. … The Pirates return home for six-games beginning with a weekend series against the New York Mets.