Like I said, the Pirates only got six hits on the night but all it took was two hits to give them all the offense they needed. Pedro Alvarez launched his 20th of the season in the bottom of the second inning that probably would have been a shot straight into the river if not for the trees that line the walkway and then Garrett Jones hit a solo shot in the fourth inning that would turn out to be the game winner.
The Pirates needed Francisco Liriano to be great, and he was. I don't know if I would say "great" but he gave one of his more effective starts as he walked leadoff hitter Rickie Weeks and then didn't walk another batter on the day. Putting free guys on base has been a problem for Liriano for much of his career after his breakout 2010 season. Last night he struck out six and scattered seven hits over six innings and let Tony Watson, Mark Melancon, and Jason Grilli finish the job. While Liriano might not be the best in the lead or even on his own staff he probably can start being looked at as more of a real option to help carry this team. Last night he did.
ESPN gives us this:
The Pirates are the first team to 50 wins for the 1st time in over 50 years! (1902, 1903, 1908, 1909, 1921, 1960, 2013) The Pirates haven't made the playoffs since 1992. In the 20 full seasons since then, Pittsburgh had, on average, earned its 50th win of the season in Game #113.
In case you were curious game 113 happens in the beginning of August. ESPN also had a nice piece on the Pirates that you can read here.
A week ago I thought that the Pirates might be able to get to 20 games over by the break. Right now, with 13 games left until the All-Star break the Pirates are 50-30. You read that right 50-30. Soak it in. I am.