-As Pirates fans we all know too well what it feels like to lose the way the Astros lost tonight. I honestly feel bad for true Astros fans that had to watch the end of that game but that was just brutally bad. Not just the final play but the entire final inning. I don't even care, wins all count the same and the Pirates got a win. I will take it. The Pirates will lose in a brutal fashion at some point this season to equal out this win.
-In case you didn't see the game let me set up the final inning for you. The game was tied at four. Starling Marte led the inning off with a half swing single to right field. Travis Snider then had a half swing fielders choice that got Marte out at second. Andrew McCutchen then singled to right field on a really beautiful inside-out swing to put runners on first and third. Brandon Inge comes to the plate and hits a textbook comebacker that is a double play 99 out of 100 times. This was that one time. Bobble by Astros pitcher Edgar Gonzalez that loaded the bases with one out. Neil Walker came to bat who is just money when the bases are loaded but he has a brutal at bat. On the 2-1 pitch Gonzalez throws a ball about ten feet out of the strike zone and Walker swings then he looks at strike three which is nearly a middle-middle pitch. Two outs and Russell Martin comes up. The count gets worked to 3-2 and then this:
Oh man. Just hilariously beautiful. That is what 11-31 teams do.
-The Pirates got a really weird start from Jeanmar Gomez. He cruised through the first four innings but then completely fell apart in the fourth inning. He ended the game giving up four runs and five hits while walking two and things didn't look good.
-Great work by the pen tonight. Vin Mazzaro, Tony Watson, and Justin Wilson combined for 4.1 scoreless innings where they gave up only two hits and struck out six. It wasn't clean as they collectively walked three but they didn't let a run score. Big ups to those three.
-McCutchen was a monster tonight. 3-for-5 with a double and home runs and just was all over the place. He wasn't having much luck as he has been hitting the ball really well just right at players but today he broke out a little bit. Really good to see.
-Pedro Alvarez has been pretty bad for most of the season but he made up for some of it tonight. The Pirates were down by two in the eighth inning and had a runner on first with two outs (I think) and got a fastball and just CRUSHED it to right field for a 462 foot home run. It hit the walkway about four or five feet short of finding the river on the fly. He pimped it out and knew it was gone as soon as he hit it. That is a big time hit and that is why he plays. Just huge.
I mean watch this:
-Clint Hurdle has done a decent job recently with his bullpen management and for that I have to applaud him but he still insists on bunting in horrible situations. Case in point tonight it was the bottom of the sixth inning and the Pirates had just cut the Astros lead to 4-2 with a Garrett Jones double with no outs. Up comes Neil Walker, TO BUNT. He bunts it right back to the pitcher who throws Jones out at third. Under no circumstance should Neil Walker be bunting in the sixth inning of a game where you have a runner on second base and NO OUTS. I really hope that Walker bunted on his own just so I can have some (very little) faith that Hurdle isn't that, um, crazy. This is inexcusable. It cost the Pirates runs that inning and could very well have cost them the game. It will get lost in the shuffle because of the way the game ended and the Pirates winning but that is absolutely inexcusable and it needs to stop. Just complete and utter incompetence to order a bunt from your number five hitter in that position.
-Well, now that's out of the way (he frustrates me so bad sometimes) the Pirates got a win and that is huge. They are now sitting 25-17 and they have two more against the Astros before three with the Cubs. If the Pirates can stack some wins here they can be sitting in a good spot. Those wins aren't going to come east though. Despite what happened tonight the Astros were in a good place to win and they didn't. The Pirates need to come out and take these victories.