The Pirates have had some really tough games recently. Including tonight they have had leads in each of the last four games and each time they have given up those leads late and before tonight they had lost all three. Tonight they were able to lose the lead, tie the game, then win the game. I would be lying if I said this didn't feel real damn good.
Actually the Pirates got all the offense they needed with one swing of the bat. With the Pirates already down 2-0 they went to work in the fourth inning. It started with an Andrew McCutchen single followed by a Pedro Alvarez double and a Neil Walker hit by pitch. Then came up Ike Davis. Davis has been pretty good in his few games with the Pirates and he took a first pitch fastball and hit a broken bat grand slam.
Like I said, Davis has been pretty good since coming over to the Pirates. Including tonight he is 5-for-13 with a home run (grand slam tonight), four runs, and a double. Obviously he's not going to continue to hit like this but it is really nice to have a reasonably talented player for the big portion of the first base platoon.
Anyways, back to the fourth inning. It was really nice to see. Mike Leake had done a pretty nice job the first time through the order giving up only three hits through those first three innings. In the fourth inning he gave up the hit to McCutchen, which isn't overly surprising, but against the two left handed hitters he didn't hit with a pitch he tried to go inside with a fastball. The one to Alvarez was 90 mph and the one to Davis was 89 mph. Both pitches got crushed. It was a huge inning.
The Pirates offense actually played pretty well tonight which comes off a pretty good series against the Brewers. They had 12 hits tonight, walked four times, and only struck out three times. That is exactly what you need from the offense. Everyone but Russell Martin, Clint Barmes, and Jose Tabata had a hit and while you would like to see a hit here or there the other guys in the lineup picked up those guys. Good to see.
The Pirates came into the game with an extremely short bullpen as Jason Grilli, Tony Watson, and what seemed like 12 others weren't available so it was going to be extremely important for Francisco Liriano to go deep. He did. Frank went 7.0+ innings and gave up five runs (four earned) on seven hits and two walks.
It wasn't ideal as he exited the game and saw Justin Wilson give up a few runs he left on the pond but it was a pretty nice outing from Liriano. Wasn't a great outing but if he didn't go at least seven then the Pirates were going to be in a world of hurt. Thankfully it didn't come to that.
The Pirates actually walked this one off. They were down 5-4 going into the bottom of the eighth inning when Reds manager Bryan Price acted in the Pirates best interest. In a wildly horrible decision Price brought in left handed reliever Manny Parra. That really wasn't the bad part of the decision, it was that McCutchen was leading off the inning. I know why Price brought in Parra, the Pirates had a left laden portion of the lineup coming up and maybe he didn't want to waste one guy for McCutchen. Big mistake. 'Cutch is a career .334/.419/.579 hitter against left handed pitching and hit .388/.479/.650 against them in 2013. All 'Cutch did was go deep to right centerfield. Tie game.
In the ninth the Pirates got after it with Martin and McCutchen reaching base and then Walker came through with the bleeder and thanks to some awful defense from Cincinnati the Pirates walked it off.
Speaking of Walker he has been awfully good recently. He went 3-for-4 on the night and that one out was a screamer in his first at bat that he hit right at Jay Bruce on a line. He is seeing the ball well and has been putting a lot of balls over the fence. The ball he hit for the game winning probably should have been turned into an out, but it wasn't. I will take it.