The Cinderella Pittsburgh Pirates are headed to the dance.
"A dream is a wish your heart makes. A dream is a wish your heart makesWhen you’re fast asleep.In dreams you will lose your heartaches.Whatever you wish for, you keep.Have faith in your dreams, and somedayYour rainbow will come smiling through.No matter how your heart is grieving,If you keep on believing,The dreams that you wish will come true. Cinderella. 1950"
With a two run lead, Francisco Liriano dominated allowing no Reds to even sniff a hit.
Meanwhile after getting two runners on, the Reds sluggers continued to swing at dirtballs. Joey Votto came up empty. Brandon Phillips popped out. But then Jay Bruce ripped a Frank the Tank fastball between Pedro Alvarez and Clint Barmes for the Reds first run.
Up stepped Todd Frazier who made a sparkling catch into the camera well on a Neil Walker foul ball with two on early in the game. A 1-1 pitch was crushed as the blackout crowd went silent. Surely not Todd Frazier. Surely not… foul ball.
And then the dirt ball and Frazier couldn’t lay off. Strike three swinging.
Cue the eruption. We can’t say it enough, the PNC Park crowd was unbelievable. Well, almost, but one man does not define a crowd.
By this time of the game, I had paced the shag carpet in Mom’s basement to the hardwood. Just in time for the Bucs to plate two more runs chasing Cueto from the game mid-Dusty Baker interview. I mean one minute Baker is saying Cueto is the best, the next he is headed to the bump to get the ball after a Starling Marte double.
In came lefty Sean Marshall and the PNC Park crowd welcomed him aptly with echoing Marsh-all chants. Neil Walker crushed a double off the wall to plate Marte. Brandon Phillips made an error allowing the Bucs to score another.
Frank the Tank went back out with a four-run lead and promptly walked the leadoff hitter Zach Cozart by firing pitches all over the zone. As Bucs skipper Clint Hurdle got on the TBS interview and joked that sitting for an extended period isn’t always bad for a starting pitcher, Liriano got back in the zone (barely) and an around the horn double play started by Alvarez, turned by Walker and finished by Justin Morneau ended the fifth inning.
The Bucs potent offense took the fifth inning off.
It really looked like Frank the Tank saved the filthiest sliders for Joey Votto. I felt bad for Votto, and then it went away. After Ryan Ludwick doubled with one out in the sixth inning, Liriano struck out Joey with pure dirt and got Brandon Phillips to groundout softly ending the threat.
McCutchen kept getting on base when he ripped a single into left field with one out in the sixth. Baker made another trip to the mound, and went for the southpaw Manny Parra from the bullpen. Morneau greeted him with a single to left field as we screamed for Gaby Sanchez to pinch hit–thankfully Hurdle firmly believes Morneau can hit lefties.
After retiring Byrd, El Toro who was the only Pirates position player without a hit, went down swinging.
With one out in the seventh, Frazier finally got the hit for making that sparkling defensive play. The Reds third baseman blasted a double into the North Side Notch. Liriano went to a full count and then as he did all night, got a groundball for the second out. After battling back to a 2-2 count, the PNC Park #Blackout crowd got on its feet and yeh, Liriano got the final out on a groundout to Pedro.
Another threat had been averted by the Buccos southpaw.
Stretch it out PNC Park. You deserve it.
Before they could sit down Martin murdered his second homer of the night to make it 6-1 Bucs. Somewhere in heaven Roberto and the boys were having one hell of a laugh.
Tony Watson came in to relieve Liriano and promptly gave up a homerun to Shin-Soo Choo, the first of the season for the Bucco southpaw. This guy was feeling a bit douchebaggy after reaching over the Clemente Wall. Not to worry, just a rally killer. TWats closed out the inning and the Pirates were three outs away after going three up, three down in the the bottom of the eighth.
Jason Grilli came on to get the save. Strikeout. Flyout. PNC Park on their feet screaming Let’s Go Bucs! A fitting grounder to Neil Walker ended the game. The Bucs are headed to St. Louis. Congrats everyone, you deserve all of this.
And one more time. The Cinderella quote we love so much.
"A dream is a wish your heart makesWhen you’re fast asleep.In dreams you will lose your heartaches.Whatever you wish for, you keep.Have faith in your dreams, and somedayYour rainbow will come smiling through.No matter how your heart is grieving,If you keep on believing,The dreams that you wish will come true."
And oh yeh, THIS…