Pittsburgh hit 4 solo homers en route to a 5-4 victory over the Redlegs in Cincinnati before their off-day. Josh Harrison was the hero who unexpectedly entered the game as a replacement for the (unfairly) ejected Starling Marte, hitting a solo home run in front of his family and friends to tie the game in the eighth and give Jordy Mercer the opportunity to drive in the winning run in the ninth. Earlier in the game, McCutchen, Freese, and Kang hit solo homers to keep the game close enough for the late inning heroics to transpire. Here they all are, in order, for your viewing pleasure:
Juan Nicasio pitched effectively, throwing 47 of his 68 pitches for strikes through his six innings on the hill. He would have easily lasted much longer if Dave Jauss didn’t need a pinch hitter in the seventh for him. Jauss was managing at that point because Clint Hurdle was ejected for…something in the sixth after Marte was caught stealing on a bizarre play in which Brandon Phillips clearly pushed his hand off the bag, yet the replay officials only acknowledged that he was off the bag without considering how that happened.
Apparently pushing people off the bag isn’t reviewable, which seems crazy because in the circumstance that happened during the game today, as Bob Walk pointed out, there was literally no way for the umpires in New York to make the correct call based on the replay rules in place. Clint Hurdle was seemingly ejected for arguing a replay despite the fact that the call he was arguing is not reviewable; overall, this was a weird sequence.
Four Pirates were also hit by pitches in this game, with our old friend Ross Ohlendorf getting ejected in the ninth after hitting David Freese with a pitch. Later in the ninth, Mark Melancon scared the shit out of every Pirates fan watching by throwing two cutters straight down the middle to Votto in hitters’ counts (look at the two swinging strikes in the middle of the zone):
With so many extracurricular, unexpected things going on, the Pirates’ win was a bit overshadowed, but that’s exactly what it was: a win. They get a day off tomorrow before heading to Chicago for a series against the Cubs consisting of exclusively day games, as the Cubs are wont to do. Said Cubs were swept in their doubleheader yesterday against the Padres, meaning the Pirates gained 1.5 games on them in the standings and could be as close as 4 games back at the end of the weekend if all goes according to plan.
Temporarily splitting the series until the rained out game is made up is a fine result, but I can’t help but think that the Pirates keep letting go of easy ones that they could win. The most important game is the next game, though, and it’s on to Chicago to hopefully prove that the Pirates have some staying power in the division race.