Happy Jele, who missed the shock loss Stellenbosch FC, returned to skipper the Soweto giants while Mthokozisi Dube and Ben Motshwari also earned starts for the visitors.
The Buccaneers made a bright start in the first 15 minutes as Vincent Pule headed onto the roof of the net following a cross from Tshegofatso Mabasa. Five minutes later, Paseka Mako missed a big chance as he miskicked with the goal at his mercy after robbing Luckyboy Mokoena off possession.
Highlands sprung to life when Tendai Ndoro’s header forced Wayne Sandilands to the evening’s first save on 28 minutes, while Ryan Rae’s close-range volley hit the post seconds later.
Ndoro threatened the opener again following the half-hour mark when his low shot from the far side went through the legs of Dube, but Sandilands’s outstretched hand redirected a corner as the opening half ended on a livelier note.
Pirates put out a strong start to the second half, as Linda Mntambo fired down the throats of Thela Ngobeni following a shot from the edge of the area.
Equally so the Lions of the North resumed on a solid pasting, with Spiwe Msimango firing against the side-netting from an acute angle couple of minutes later.
Mokwena upped the scales towards the final 20 minutes with a pacey attack that saw Gabadinho Mhango enter for Shonga.
The introduction brought dominance as Mntambo played through Mabasa, who amidst calls for an offside toe-poked past Ngobeni with ten minutes to go.
The Sea Robbers marshalled their ship thereafter to claim their third win of the campaign, whilst going back into the top eight.
Highlands: Ngobeni, Mokoena, Mbhele, Msimango, Rae, Mbunjana, Williams, Mbatha, Shalulile, Mvala, Ndoro.
Subs: Heugh, Mogaila, Msane, Letsholonyane, Jooste, Motsepe, Nyembe.
Pirates: Sandilands, Jele, Maela, Nyauza, Dube, Mako, Mntambo, Motshwari, Pule, Shonga, Mabasa