At 9 AM we checked out of our Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania motel and began driving west toward Pittsburgh on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. We had 8 hours available to make a 3.5 hour drive so we weren’t feeling any pressure to hurry.

On our arrival in Pittsburgh we drove around in the city looking a direct route to Point State Park, where the ’3 rivers’ converge, so we can stop and take some photos. In this quest, our maps and the freeway and street signs were dreadfully insufficient to lead us directly to the park. But we saw the park from the bridge, so we knew that we’d find our way there eventually. We spent about 30 minutes at Point State Park taking photos and enjoying the view of the 3 rivers. When we were finished visiting Point State Park, we walked back to our van and headed to the Best Western Motel to check in. The motel is about 3 miles from downtown, on the other side of the Monongahela. We were checked in before 4 PM. We had a couple of hours to relax before heading back downtown to PNC Park for a ballgame.

At 5:45 PM we drove from our motel to a downtown parking garage that’s located just across the river from PNC Park, where we’d see the Pittsburgh Pirates host the St. Louis Cardinals at PNC Park.

We walked across the Roberto Clemente Bridge to get to the ballpark. The Roberto Clemente Bridge is closed to motor vehicle traffic before and after the game, so it serves as a pedestrian-only bridge for fans attending the games.

We walked along the outside of the ballpark from the left field gate toward the home plate entrance, just to have a look at the place. Then we entered the ballpark and took our seats in the upper deck, third base side, with a view of the river and the bridge.

St. Louis put up a run in the 1st on a homer by Albert Pujols. Pittsburgh scored 4 runs in the 2nd and 3 runs in the 5th to take a commanding 7-1 lead.

On this night the Cardinals had to use their bullpen often. The Pirates used their bullpen only once. Zach Duke, the Pirates starting pitcher, was outstanding. He pitched 8 innings of 4-hit 1-run baseball.

St. Louis loaded the bases in the 9th, causing a bit of unrest among the Pittsburgh fans who’ve grown accustomed to seeing their team blow leads late in games, but the Cardinals failed to score. The Cardinals never scored again after the solo homer by Albert Pujols in the first inning, and the Pirates didn’t score again after the 5th. The final score in Pittsburgh’s victory tonight was 7-1. Box Score

If there is a better Major League ballpark than PNC Park in Pittsburgh, I haven’t seen it. This place was outstanding in every way.

After the game we walked back over the Roberto Clemente Bridge to the parking garage. That parking garage was a pain in the butt to exit and it took over 30 minutes to get out of there. Then we were back at our motel within a few minutes and we were finished for the night. We had a 2-city day-night baseball doubleheader scheduled for the next day so I was ready for a good night’s sleep.