When the Pirates go through their slumps and talk inevitably turns to whether or not THIS stretch is THE collapse, I think that it's wins just like this one that provide the best evidence that 2013 is a different year than 2012 or 2011. Coming off of a rough road trip, the Pirates came home to face a solid baseball team, and they turned in a complete performance from beginning to end.
The Pirates took a 2-0 lead in the third inning with a two-out rally. Neil Walker drew a two-out walk, the Andrew McCutchen dropped a broken-bat double down the left field line that moved Walker to third. While I was wondering whether or not Walker should've been sent home, Pedro Alvarez was busying singling both runners in. Just like on Thursday, the Pirates' early lead was immediately followed with a rough inning from the starter, but Gerrit Cole escaped the top of the fourth with only two runs scoring, and he bore down and cruised through the fifth and the sixth to turn in a solid start in a huge situation for the Pirates.
That was all the rest of the team would need. They took the lead back in the fifth inning when Starling Marte singled, then scored on a Walker double. Walker himself scored on a McCutchen single. Jeanmar Gomez followed Cole with two perfect innings, striking out three and only needing 23 pitches. Jose Tabata looped a two-run home run over the right field fence, then Mark Melancon came in to pitch a perfect ninth.
Two of the Pirates' last three games have resulted in this type of easy, complete win. I'd say that's pretty encouraging.