Tonight was one of Cole's best outings since coming off the DL and one of his better outings of the season. It is true that the Red Sox boast a pretty awful lineup but that didn't mean anything was certain. Cole went 7.0+ innings, striking out seven and not walking a single batter. He was yanked in the eighth after giving up back-to-back singles to leadoff the inning but that withstanding it was a really solid effort from Cole. He threw only 98 pitches and ran a string of 10 straight batters retired from the last out of the fourth inning through the seventh inning. Great to see Cole stay strong through seven innings and hopefully this means that he will be getting some of that stamina back after being on the DL.
This game was probably a lot closer than it needed to be. The Pirates had runners all over the bases but couldn't deliver the knockout punch like it had the previous two nights against the Red Sox. In the first inning they loaded the bases with two outs and eventually scored a run when Ike Davis drew a walk. In the fourth inning the Pirates had runners on second and third with nobody out and they got a single from Chris Stewart before they were retired in order after that. There were plenty of guys on base and the Pirates just couldn't get that breakout hit. They did just enough though, which is OK by me.
Starling Marte is quietly have a really good season. He had a two hit night including a moonshot of a home run to give the Pirates their third run. Since coming off the concussion DL he has been unworldly. This is from right after his home run:
Starling Marte since returning from the concussion disabled list: .367/.429/.626 1.055 OPS
— David Manel (@DavidManel) September 19, 2014
That is pretty good and just another piece of the puzzle that is this great Pirates offense.
This game was crazy wild in the ninth inning. Mark Melancon hit Allen Craig who was replaced by Jemile Weeks who went to third on the following Daniel Nava single. So first and third with no outs. Not good. What happened next was nuts. Will Middlebrooks hit a ball down the third base line and as Weeks was diving back the ball hit him in fair territory while he wasn't touching the base. So Middlebrooks was out and runners were on first and second with no outs. A strikeout and groundout later and the Pirates win when it looked like a tie would be the best case scenario. Stuff like this used to happen against the Pirates on a regular basis and now the Pirates are catching these breaks. It's awesome to see happen. They needed a break and they got it.
When the Pirates started this home stand they had some "easy" games against the Cubs and Red Sox and all they did was go 5-1 to push them to 12 games over .500. They now have a huge three game series against the Brewers and a four game set against the Braves that will determine what team is going to get that last Wild Card spot. The Braves are nearly out of it but the Brewers are right on the Pirates heels and it is going to take every win to get into the playoffs this year.