It’s always amazing to me how quickly an exciting ending wipes away everything frustrating about a baseball game. After Neil Walker and Andrew McCutchen hit back-to-back doubles in the first inning to put the Pirates ahead 1-0, Wandy Rodriguez faced the minimum number of hitters in the second through eighth innings. That resulted in a 2-1 Astros lead going into the bottom of the ninth. Brad Mills pulled Wandy for some reason, though, and the Pirates quickly loaded the bases up with no outs against Brett Myers.
Things quickly got frustrating from there. Pedro Alvarez battled back from an 0-2 count to hit a sac fly, but then Clint Hurdle send Nate McLouth and Alex Presley to the plate as pinch hitters with the game on the line. They turned in two predictably awful at-bats and the game went to extra innings. Hurdle’s occasionally weird propensity to burn through his bench nearly cost the team at this point; Rod Barajas played an inning at first base and Clint Barmes played two. Hurdle kept bringing in new pitchers every inning, despite the bullpen already being short it’s best long arm with Brad Lincoln slated to start for Erik Bedard tomorrow. It sure seemed like this game was headed towards some kind of inevitable disaster.
And then Clint Barmes blooped a double into shallow left and Josh Harrison followed that up with an RBI single, and the Pirates won. All of the frustrations with the weird managing and the terrible offense and everything … now they’re all something to worry about on another day. The Pirates won. The Pirates have won four of six. The Pirates are 16-18. They don’t have any offense to speak of and they occasionally look like a Little League team in terms of base running fundamentals, and yet here we are.