Maybe it was the throwback 1971 jerseys that powered the Pittsburgh Pirates to a dramatic comeback win against the NL Central Champion Cincinnati Reds before 19,000+ at PNC Park. Or maybe it was just about time the bats broke loose.
In their first six games – five losses – the Pirates scored eight runs. In their last six games – five wins – the Pirates have scored 32 runs.
The Bucs had only hit three bombs in eleven games and six innings–then belted three in the final two innings to complete the sweep of the Reds.
Michael McKenry’s performance will start the cries of #PlayTheFort after going deep twice. Starling Marte murdered a two-run bomb to break up a tie ball game, and powered the six-run eighth that set up the Bucs for their 10-7 win.
It was a thing of beauty. Dusty Baker thought he had the formula after Mat Latos cruised through six innings, but The Fort crushed a shot to dead center to lead off the seventh and make the game 5-1. It’s what ignited the Pirates bench.
The Pirates piled on with back-to-back doubles by Travis Snider and Andrew McCutchen. Dusty made a move to one of his lefties, and Hurdle countered by calling back Garrett Jones for Gaby Sanchez who delivered a Gabulous RBI single.
The Reds, who never take an inning off, got an RBI single from pinch-hitter Jack Hannahan in the top of the eighth off reliever Jared Hughes. It gave the Reds a two run cushion, and Dusty went to Jonathan Broxton to seal the eighth before he expected to go to Ardolis Chapman for the ninth.
The Pirates had a different plan. They scored six runs off Broxton to take a 10-6 lead.
The Fort belted a two-run bomb to left to tie it. The PNC Park crowd went ballistic and demanded a curtain call from their favorite backup catcher.
“I’m just trying to stay loose. I was really humbled by the crowd doing that.”
Then Joe Tabata earned a walk…and didn’t try to steal second base, thankfully, because Starling Marte was about to turn on one.
Marte murdered a baseball. (Be sure to click on the GIF below)
Gaby Sanchez delivered a sacrifice for another run and Neil Walker greeted Chapman with an RBI single. Walk was 3-for-5 on the day and is finally seeing his BABIP rise.
Clint Hurdle said in pregame that Jason Grilli would not play unless he was hitting, so Mark Melancon got the call in the ninth.
As all of Pittsburgh partied, Joey Votto shit in the punch bowl when he greeted Melancon with a solo homer. It was the first damage Melancon has allowed all season, and Votto’s first homer since June 24. But after Votto’s bomb, Melancon settled in and rolled the Bucs to victory. The right hander was pretty pumped to close it out.
Travis Snider should have had a homer, we thought. Nonetheless, two doubles for Snider on the day. But what was that steal of third?
Ho hum. Another multi-hit day for Starling Marte.
Lost in the excitement was Philthy Phil Irwin’s debut. It wasn’t pretty early on. Well, this was damn pretty, Irwin’s first swinging strike courtesy of Fangraphs….
Cincy put up a 4-0 lead after two innings. On the day, Irwin gave up five runs–four earned on six hits—walked four (HUH?) and struck out four.
Electric Stuff might go Thursday with Bradenton.
James McDonald and Cardinals’ Lance Lynn go tomorrow night in the first of a three game set.
Click on this GIF that ClimbTheWall made…so awesome to see Starling Marte destroying baseballs.
The FanGraphs Win Expectancy…hilarious
The play log is tremendous as well.