There are some things that are hard to do in baseball. One of them is sweep a series, it doesn't matter if it is three games or four games and it doesn't matter how bad the team is you are playing it is hard to take all the games in a series against another major league team. The other thing that is hard to do is sweep a doubleheader. Almost in the same mold as a series that is a lot of baseball in one day and more often than not one team is going to win one game and the other team will win the other. I have no stats to back this up or hard hitting analysis but that just seems to be the way baseball goes. If this were a three game series the Pirates would have a sweep and they did win both games of a doubleheader today. That is impressive.
The Pirates kept it pretty mum on who was going to be throwing game two and when it finally came back that they were going to call Brandon Cumpton up there wasn't really much I thought about it. He was alright in his few starts for the Pirates already this season but was pretty much good for five innings and then you really had to worry about him. Well, tonight against one of the best offense in baseball all he did was go out and throw seven shutout innings where he struck out five, walked one and only gave up five hits. He threw only 87 pitches with 65 of them coming for strikes. He doesn't overwhelm you with great stuff but he was pounding the zone tonight and hitting his spots and not giving into any of the Cardinals hitters. After the great start by A.J. Burnett in the first game you kinda felt like you were playing with house money in game two and if Cumpton could give you five or six good innings then you might have a chance. Well, he gave them way more than that and should really be applauded in a big way for winning this game.
While the offense was a little out to lunch in game one they came through and backed Cumpton, even though he didn't really need all that much. The Pirates scored in the second on a Yadier Molina and the game stayed that close until the Pirates put up a huge three spot in the fifth inning capped off by a two run home run by Andrew McCutchen that was pretty much pushed over the wall by Matt Holliday:
Oh man, Mr. Holliday was not made for left field at PNC Park. He was just brutally bad out there tonight.
Gaby Sanchez and Tony Sanchez knocked in a few more runs for good measure in the seventh inning but by that time the game was pretty much already over. The Cardinals offense has been just putrid recently. The had only three hits the entire night and were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. You know how bad it has gotten? This:
The Pirates collected 11 hits today and six of them went for extra bases including three tripes (Starling Marte, Alex Presley, Josh Harrison). The really remarkable thing about the game was that the Pirates scored a 6-0 victory despite going only 1-of-14 with runners in scoring position. With how many extra base hits they had it's almost unbelievable they only had one hit with a runner in scoring position.
The Pirates have already won the series and have to more to go against the Cardinals. They are 1.5 games up on the Cardinals in the NL Central and currently have the best record in baseball. It's July 30. Oh baby.