Let's try a different perspective here: for the first time in a long time, you could accuse the Pirates of playing down to their opposition this weekend. Against an awfu Astro team, the Pirates spent most of this weekend playing on one side or the other of a low-scoring one-run game. Today, the only run was a solo homer by Pedro Alvarez that was the diametric opposite of his mammoth blast on Friday night; he just barely got enough to bloop the ball over the short wall in left field. That was enough, though, as Jeff Locke threw seven shutout innings, holding the Astros to just three hits and two walks. Mark Melancon and Jason Grilli were perfect in the eighth and the ninth, and the Pirates are eight games over .500 and tied with the Reds, both for second place in the NL Central and for the second best record in the National League.
I said before this week started that I thought five wins against the Brewers and Astros would be appropriate, and that's what the Pirates have to show for the week. Now they've got three games against the Cubs at home before traveling to Milwaukee, then playing a home-and-home four-game set against the Tigers at the end of the month. I remember saying this a lot last summer when things were going well, and so I'll say it again now: all wins count the same, no matter how ugly they are or when they take place in the season. The Pirates have 26 of them right now, and it's impossible not to be happy with that on May 19th.