Game 21: Pirates 5 Phillies 3

Through six innings, the only hit the Pirates had was a Pedro Alvarez RBI single. Through seven innings, the only two hits they had were a Pedro Alvarez RBI single and a Pedro Alvarez solo home run. Roy Halladay looked much more like the Roy Halladay that we're familiar with and Wandy Rodriguez had an off night that saw him serve up a long home run to Chase Utley and a LOOOOOOOOOOOOONG home run to Ryan Howard (quite seriously maybe the longest home run I've ever seen anyone hit with my own two eyes). And somehow, the Pirates still won. 

They won because Alvarez kept things close tonight when things weren't going well. They won because Wandy Rodriguez still only gave up three runs in 5 2/3 innings on a night where he clearly didn't have his best stuff and because Vin Mazzaro, of all people, helped him get out of a jam in the sixth. They won because Mike Adams took the mound and didn't have his best stuff and so Jose Tabata, Starling Marte, Travis Snider, Andrew McCutchen, and pinch hitter Brandon Inge (?!?) strung together a walk-single-single-walk-single rally against Mike Adams in the eighth. And they won because Mark Melancon and Jason Grilli are pretty much unstoppable right now. 

There are four things from this game that I'd recommend you see. One of them is Howard's home run, because it was borderline unbelievable. One is Alvarez's homer, because he took a pitch on he outside part of the plate from a lefty, somehow got his bat way out in front of it, spun his back foot, and still yanked a ball over the fence in the sort of brute-strength home run that you as a Pirate fan have always hoped that Pedro Alvarez was capable of hitting. The third highlight is Starling Marte's insane pop-up triple. That's because when you watch the play live you think that the only way that Marte could've made it to third base on the play (a pop-up towards no-man's land in shallow right towards the line that Chase Utley ran down but couldn't quite reel in) was to bolt out of the box like a shot intent on ending up on third base if Utley dropped the ball, but when you watch the replay you realize that he watched the play all the way down the first base line and didn't really even kick it into fifth gear until he was halfway between first and second. And the last thing you should watch is any out that Jason Grilli recorded in the ninth inning tonight. Jason Grilli was more or less left for dead by the Phillies organization two summers ago and the Pirates wanted him when no one else did. Up until he arrived in Pittsburgh, that was kind of Jason Grilli's career in a nutshell. Grilli's been reborn as a Pirate, though, and he's absolutely reveling in the closer role this  year. He wants these saves against the Phillies badly, and he's a lot of fun to watch once he locks in. 

Pat Lackey

About Pat Lackey

In 2005, I started a WHYGAVS instead of working on organic chemistry homework. Many years later, I've written about baseball and the Pirates for a number of sites all across the internet, but WHYGAVS is still my home. I still haven't finished that O-Chem homework, though.