Tonight, the Pirates fought back for three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to turn a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 lead. The key hit in the sequence was Andrew McCutchen's huge two-out single, in which he fell behind 1-2, fouled off three pitches, and lashed the go ahead single right up the middle. It was a nice rally, a great at-bat, and a great moment late in the season for a team desperate for these sorts of things.
In the top of the eighth, the Pirate bullpen took over. Denny Bautista walked Manny Ramirez and gave up a one out single. Then, Phil Dumatrait came in and walked James Loney. Then, Steven Jackson came in and walked Andre Ethier. And Orlando Hudson (from an 0-2 count!). And gave up a two-run single to Jim Thome. At that point, John Russell came out to get Jackson with the exasperated look that you see above; the look that I think summarizes these last two months quite nicely.
There's nothing surprising about that happening to a one-run lead when Bautista, Dumatrait, and Jackson were tasked with defending it, but there wasn't really any other choice, either.
Nine games left. I think I can make it with my sanity intact. I'm less certain about JR.