After last nights brutal loss the Pirates really needed to bounce back. Not that they couldn't lose tonights game but with the Braves already winning earlier in the day and the Cardinals being down much of the night it was a good time to gain a game in the division and keep the 1.5 game lead in the Wild Card. It also wouldn't hurt to possibly go up another game on the Brewers even though they were winning 1-0 as the Pirates game ended. The Pirates didn't play a great game but they got some really huge hits when they needed it and the bullpen was as good as they have been in some time.
Vance Worley took the bump tonight and he wasn't that good. He was getting hit around and while he kept the Phillies at bay he threw a lot of pitches and just gave me that uneasy feeling most of the night. He did make it through five innings of work and gave up three runs on four hits but threw nearly 100 pitches doing so. With the way the Pirates bullpen has been pitching this was pretty terrifying. Maybe the worst part of this was that Worley gave up a two run scoring hit to opposing pitcher Jerome Williams in the fourth inning. I think that was the part of the game where I thought that it was going to be a repeat of last night.
It wasn't a repeat of last night. Thankfully Ben Revere and Grady Sizemore had no idea how to play outfield in their own home park in the fifth inning which led to Andrew McCutchen recording his first career inside the park home run. It. Was. Awesome. He got around the bases in just over 15 seconds and while Revere and Sizemore were pretending like they had no idea where the ball was the camera was fixed on Cutch rounding the bases and it was so much fun to watch. His core is still not healthy but he's still playing well enough to help this team win.
After a Neil Walker groundout Russell Martin went deep and gave the Pirates the last run they would need. Martin is going to make all the money in free agency. People are going to bitch and moan that the Pirates are too cheap to keep Martin but right now he is going to be able to make as much money for as many years as he can. Not many teams are going to be able to give him that opportunity and unfortunately the Pirates are not one of those teams.
The Pirates got some insurance in the sixth inning with back-to-back run scoring hits from Josh Harrison and Starling Marte. All told the Pirates collected 13 hits. They struck out eight times against Williams, who isn't very good at all, but in the end they got to him and then teed off on the Phillies bullpen. Harrison, Marte, and McCutchen all went 2-for-4 with a run scored and a run driven in and Martin, Jordy Mercer, and Travis Snider also had two hits. It was a very balanced offensive attack and it was a little rocky but who cares.
The bullpen needs touched on though. They have been pretty bad all season but tonight they used a couple of September call-ups and the regular rock solid guys to get the job done. Bobby LaFromboise, John Holdzkom, Tony Watson, and Mark Melancon faced a combined 12 hitters and not a single one of those hitters reached base. I am not sure how to react to this because base runners have been the norm recently but it was pretty cool to just sit back and watch perfect innings from the bullpen.
The Pirates are in a good place right now and a win tomorrow would be huge. A split wouldn't be terrible but with a chance to get three wins in a four game series against a not very good team before the last home stand of the season.