This was a really weird game. In the end it played out kinda like it did last night. Maybe not as dramatic as last night but the Pirates basically waited around until the Blue Jays went to the bullpen and then they took full advantage. The Blue Jays bullpen is fairly awful and with nobody that is any good to turn to they just brought out one guy after another that gave up some pretty significant runs to the Pirates were Toronto was well ahead.
Francisco Liriano didn't have a good outing (3.2 innings, six hits, five runs) and the defense was really awful behind him (three errors for Liriano and another one in the ninth) but somehow the bullpen kept it close (only giving up one run) and gave the offense a chance to wake up.
The Pirates found themselves down 5-0 after three and a half innings but in the bottom of the fourth inning they were able to get two runs back on a wild pitch and a Clint Barmes groundout.
The Blue Jays then got a run back with a monster Jose Bautista home run and that was the point where I think I had tuned it out. I didn't turn the game off but the way this season has gone I just didn't have a feeling that they could come back from a four run deficit in the sixth inning.
Then the Pirates kinda got after it. Down 6-2 they sent nine batters to the plate in the seventh inning and scored four runs to tie the game on five hits. The seventh inning had everything, Barmes double, Josh Harrison (who batted leadoff) double, and a Jordy Mercer double. It was Mercer's first hit in like 75 games (or something like that).
What was so perplexing about that inning was what seemed like total incompetence on the Blue Jays staff to realize that the Pirates hitters that came up were really good against left handed pitching. Why does that matter? Because Toronto let Aaron Loup (a lefty) pitch to a bunch of Pirates hitters that were really good at hitting lefties. It isn't like they didn't have a righty ready, they did, it's just that they left him out there. He walked Andrew McCutchen, gave up the double to Mercer, and got Starling Marte out. All three guys are much better against lefties than righties and yet they were allowed to face a lefty in huge situations. Literally if you even looked at the splits from last year it would say that Mercer "crushes lefties" and you could make your very educated decision from there. Just baffling.
The Pirates got the lead for good in the eighth. Neil Walker hit a moonshot double to right center that scored both Ike Davis and Josh Harrison with one out. The comeback Pirates. This almost feels like last year. Sure, the Pirates are only 12-18 but the past few nights makes me smile when I think about the Pirates a little more.
The Pirates bullpen was money. They had to cover 5.1 innings between Jared Hughes, Vin Mazzaro, Jeanmar Gomez, Bryan Morris, and Mark Melancon and gave up only one run (Batista home run off Mazzaro) on three hits. That is exactly what they needed and it will get lost in the shuffle due to the big comeback from the offense but they deserve some love.
The offense finished with 12 hits, seven walks, and only five strikeouts. I think a little of this has to be adjusted for the awful Blue Jays bullpen but the Pirates have lost to worse pitchers in the past.
This was an extremely ugly win, but nobody said they all had to be pretty.