PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates have released their 2012 schedule, which is highlighted by an Opening Day matchup against the Phillies on Thursday, April 5. That game will be played at PNC Park, making this just the second time in seven seasons that the Pirates will begin a season at home.
Major League Baseball announced its full season schedule for 2012 on Wednesday morning. The first game of the year will be played in the Marlins' new ballpark on April 4. The season will conclude the first week of October.
The Pirates last opened a season against the Phillies in 2004. That game, too, was played in Pittsburgh. The Pirates have won all six previous Opening Day matchups against the Phils.
Pittsburgh's schedule includes six Interleague series, three of which will be played at home. The Pirates will welcome the Royals (June 8-10), Twins (June 19-21) and Tigers (June 22-24) to town next summer. The club will play in Detroit (May 18-20), Baltimore (June 12-14) and Cleveland (June 15-17).
Following a three-game home series against the Phillies to open the season, the Pirates will head west for a three-city swing through Los Angeles, San Francisco and Arizona. That is one of three three-city road trips the Pirates will make during the year.
The Pirates have a road-heavy start to the season, with 16 of the first 25 games being played away from home. In addition to the three-stop road trip in early April, the Pirates will visit Atlanta and St. Louis before then playing 18 of their next 25 games at home.
That stretch will take the club through the end of May.
The Pirates will be playing at home on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day. The Astros will be in town for the latter two of those three dates. The team's Memorial Day game will come against the Reds.
Pittsburgh will finish the first half of play with six home games before opening up in Milwaukee after the July 10 All-Star Game is played in Kansas City. Later that month, the Pirates will be on the road for the July 31 Trade Deadline.
Pittsburgh will have three homestands of nine games and will end the season with six home games against the Reds and Braves. The season ends on Wednesday, Oct. 3.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.