Game 76: Pirates 10 Angels 9

Trying to describe this game with words is a pretty tall task. All of this actually happened: 

– Pedro Alvarez homered for the fourth straight game to give the Pirates a 1-0 led. 

– In his first big league at-bat, Tony Sanchez hit a double that got stuck in the wall, probably costing the Pirates a run.

– A combination of bad luck, bad defense, and Charlie Mortonness lead the Angels to a five-run second inning and thus a 5-1 lead. 

– A Starling Marte double, a Neil Walker double, and some bad Angels defense in the top of the third immediately got the Pirates to within two runs. 

– Brad Hawpe, who looked like he'd never seen a baseball bat when he played with the Pirates in the Grapefruit League this March, singled in the Angels sixth run in the bottom of the fourth. 

– Things stayed that way until the top of the ninth. Andrew McCutchen pinch hit for Sanchez with runners on first and third and one out and bounced into a fielder's choice, using his speed to beat out the double play and allowing a run to score. Russell Martin doubled McCutchen in, then Starling Marte doubled Martin in to tie the game at six.

– In the top of the tenth, Pedro Alvarez lasered a double to right-center that Mike Trout, of all people, over-ran and misplayed into a double. Because the Pirates had burned their DH with McCutchen being required to play the field after pinch-hitting for Sanchez (the original DH), Clint Barmes came up and pinch-bunted Alvarez to third. Neil Walker was intentionally walked. Gaby Sanchez put together a great at-bat to draw an unintentional walk. Travis Snider hit a single to left field that JB Shuck misplayed into a bases-clearing double. Snider scored after singles from McCutchen and Martin. 

– With off-days on Monday and Wednesday next week, Jason Grilli came out to pitch the ninth despite the four-run lead. He struggled badly, giving up three runs and bringing Mike Trout up to the plate with the tying run on third and the winning run on second. 

– Grilli struck Trout out. Of course he did. 

I don't know what to say. On June 11th, AJ Burnett joined Wandy Rodriguez on the disabled list, leaving the Pirates with a rotation of Jeff Locke, Francisco Liriano, a just-back-from-Tommy-John-surgery Charlie Morton, and two rookies that had never made big league starts before. The Pirates are now 9-4 in 13 games since then, which puts them at 46-30. 

This is pretty special. 

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.