The 2010 Pirates’ bizarre insistence of modeling their season after the 1960 World Series took another step forward today with a 5-3 win over the Reds that marked their first three-game winning streak and first series sweep of the year. It wasn’t quite a third straight walkoff win, but it had all other hallmarks that every Pirate win — besides the Opening Day blowout of the Dodgers — has had so far.
The Pirates only scratched out five hits to go with their five runs, and four of those hits came in the fourth inning with all five runs. They realistically only should’ve scored three runs that inning, but Jonny Gomes’ horrific route-running and depth perception turned what should’ve been a bases loaded sac fly from Jason Jaramillo into a bases-clearing double and a 5-0 lead that would be all that Paul Maholm, Joel Hanrahan, Brendan Donnelly, and Octavio Dotel needed for the win. After the fourth inning ended, Andrew McCutchen drew a walk in the fifth, Bobby Crosby and Jason Jaramillo reached in the sixth on a walk and single, and that was it. Reds’ pitching retired 21 of 24 batters outside of the nine-batter fifth inning.
That paragraph minimizes the effort of the pitchers today, which is in no way my intent. Maholm was excellent over 6 2/3, scattering four hits, striking out five, and only allowing two runs. Joel Hanrahan closed the door in the seventh with a five-pitch strikeout, and Octavio Dotel pitched an electric, three-strikeout ninth inning that was marred a bit by Jay Bruce’s second homer of the game (Dotel should, under no circumstances, be allowed to pitch to lefties with the game on the line; I’m going to predict right now that he gives up a crippling home run to Prince Fielder in this coming series against the Brewers).
There are plenty of valid questions to ask about this club right now that I will ask in the near future, but for now I’ll just point out that after 12 games, they’re 7-5 and while they failed their first test away from PNC this year, they aced their first series against a division opponent.