There are quite a few things to discuss from this one, but let’s get the most important one out of the way. With a tie game and two runners on base in the top of the ninth inning, Jose Tabata drilled a double into the gusting wind off of a reliever that’s been silly-dominant (as in, 16.7 strikeouts/9 innings, holding righties to a .147/.318/.162 line) in 2010. In fact, Carlos Marmol had only allowed one other double to right handed hitters all season before Tabata’s clutch hit tonight. And seeing a player like him get a hit like that is exactly why the Pirates are still worth watching.
That out of the way, there was plenty more sloppy baseball tonight. Less than a week after Neil Walker got a concussion by colliding with Ryan Church in shallow right field, Bobby Crosby got a concussion by colliding with Lastings Milledge in shallow right on a play that looked pretty much identical to the first one. Think about that for a second; two balls hit in shallow right, two collisions, two concussions, four different players. That calls for a YouTube video (some NSFW language there).
Levity aside, HOLY FREAKING CRAP, HOW HARD IS IT TO CALL A BALL? Don’t they teach that in Little League? Actually, don’t they teach that in T-Ball to KEEP KIDS FROM RUNNING INTO EACH OTHER?!? Yes, yes they do. Unreal. I hope Varsho eats someone alive in the clubhouse after this.
There’s also Ryan Doumit hanging around second base to see if Tabata’s hit, well over Tyler Colvin’s head in right-center field, was going to land, then not sliding home on the very close play at the plate with what turned out to be the winning run. Another split-second and this post would have way more capital letters than it already does.
But the Crosby/Milledge collision only cost the Pirates one run and Paul Maholm pitched eight solid innings to make sure that was the only run the Cubs got and Octavio Dotel struck out the side in the ninth and holy crap, the Pirates won a road game. After going 2-13 in interleague play, we can now spend the next 21 hours pretending that that was the Pirates’ biggest problem and everything will be fine now that they’re playing NL teams again.