I think that this particular subgenre of baseball wins is one of my favorites: not the comeback win, but the matter-of-time win. The Diamondbacks gave Rubby de la Rosa a 3-0 lead in the second inning, but the Pirates had runners on base in the first, second, and third without scoring. When Sean Rodriguez hit a long home run to open the scoring for the Pirates in the fourth, it felt like a foregone conclusion that more runs were coming with the top of the offense in the fifth. As it turned out, it didn’t even matter that Locke spotted the Diamondbacks another run.
It took the Pirates five batters to turn the 4-1 Diamondback lead into a 5-4 Pirate lead; a John Jaso single, an Andrew McCutchen single, a Gregory Polanco double, a Starling Marte RBI groundout, and a mammoth two-run David Freese homer into the Pirate bullpen in center. What was impressive in the sequence to me, though, was the way the Pirates worked de la Rosa for the hits. It wasn’t a quick sequence of early-at-bat hits; Jaso singled on the second pitch, but McCutchen had a four-pitch at-bat, Polanco doubled on the sixth pitch, Marte worked de la Rosa for seven, and Freese homered on the fifth. This was a methodical erosion of a starting pitcher all inside of one inning. It was quite a sight to see.
Perhaps the better news behind the comeback was the ease with which the Pirates held the lead. Jared Hughes helped Locke out of a jam in the seventh. Neftali Feliz gave up a lead-off single in the eight, but blasted some heat past Paul Goldschmidt and got a line drive double play to end the inning, and Mark Melancon closed things out despite allowing a double to Chris Owings. The Pirates didn’t score again after Freese’s homer, but they didn’t have to, either.
The Pirates have now won eight of ten, and are 26-19. Win the games in front of you.
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