Trying to describe this game with words is a pretty tall task. All of this actually happened:
- Pedro Alvarez homered for the fourth straight game to give the Pirates a 1-0 led.
- In his first big league at-bat, Tony Sanchez hit a double that got stuck in the wall, probably costing the Pirates a run.
- A combination of bad luck, bad defense, and Charlie Mortonness lead the Angels to a five-run second inning and thus a 5-1 lead.
- A Starling Marte double, a Neil Walker double, and some bad Angels defense in the top of the third immediately got the Pirates to within two runs.
- Brad Hawpe, who looked like he'd never seen a baseball bat when he played with the Pirates in the Grapefruit League this March, singled in the Angels sixth run in the bottom of the fourth.
- Things stayed that way until the top of the ninth. Andrew McCutchen pinch hit for Sanchez with runners on first and third and one out and bounced into a fielder's choice, using his speed to beat out the double play and allowing a run to score. Russell Martin doubled McCutchen in, then Starling Marte doubled Martin in to tie the game at six.
- In the top of the tenth, Pedro Alvarez lasered a double to right-center that Mike Trout, of all people, over-ran and misplayed into a double. Because the Pirates had burned their DH with McCutchen being required to play the field after pinch-hitting for Sanchez (the original DH), Clint Barmes came up and pinch-bunted Alvarez to third. Neil Walker was intentionally walked. Gaby Sanchez put together a great at-bat to draw an unintentional walk. Travis Snider hit a single to left field that JB Shuck misplayed into a bases-clearing double. Snider scored after singles from McCutchen and Martin.
- With off-days on Monday and Wednesday next week, Jason Grilli came out to pitch the ninth despite the four-run lead. He struggled badly, giving up three runs and bringing Mike Trout up to the plate with the tying run on third and the winning run on second.
- Grilli struck Trout out. Of course he did.
I don't know what to say. On June 11th, AJ Burnett joined Wandy Rodriguez on the disabled list, leaving the Pirates with a rotation of Jeff Locke, Francisco Liriano, a just-back-from-Tommy-John-surgery Charlie Morton, and two rookies that had never made big league starts before. The Pirates are now 9-4 in 13 games since then, which puts them at 46-30.
This is pretty special.
Apropos of nothing: I just noticed a quirk of the schedule this year. We had five games against the Cardinals in April (one rained out), then nothing against them for three whole months. The next time we see them is Cardinalgeddon at the end of July, when we play them five times over four days. Then three more series against them in August and early September. Starting July 28, nearly a quarter of the Pirates remaining schedule is against the Cardinals.
1) You didn't mention: the Angels almost won with the odd combination of 6 runs and 4 hits.
2) the Bucs are off Thursday, not Wednesday.
This is all just a lot of fun. I am not looking at the last two years and I am not looking at the next few months, I am looking at this team day by day and enjoying the hell out of a ballclub that is full of guys worth getting excited for.
16 games over .500, is as far up as they were last season before they crashed. Not saying that'll happen right now, but saying WOW, they're building themselves a great season. I can't believe they're this far over .500 and it's not even July yet. The only thing that's concerning about it, is that entering today, they're 11th in the NL in runs. The pitching's been carrying them all the way. If the pitching slumps, there will be trouble. But hey, the offense did a great job of bailing out the pitching today, so maybe it won't be as much of a problem as it looks. It's great to see the Pirates winning... and winning like they probably will win 81+ this time around!