The Pirates have a day off on Monday, and as a fan, I'm kind of glad because Sunday afternoon's triumph in California is something I'd like to savor for at least a day. Pittsburgh, trying to sweep the Angels in a weekend series in Anaheim, fell behind, 5-1, and then ,6-3, before rallying in the top of the ninth inning to score three runs--including Starling Marte's two-out single to left-center field that drove in Russell Martin with the tying run.
In the top of the 10th inning, Travis Snider came up with the bases loaded and one out and hit a single to left field that was misplayed by the left-fielder, allowing all three runners to score. The Pirates added another run to take a 10-6 lead.
Closer Jason Grilli was brought in to finish off the Angels in the bottom of the 10th in a no-close situation and struggled, giving up five hits and three runs and had the tying and winning runs on second and third base with two outs. Fortunately, Grilli struck out Mike Trout to end it.
It was one of the most exciting Pirates games I've seen in years, and quite honestly, it was the kind of victory the Buccos used to pull off on a fairly regular basis back in the early 90's, when they were perennial World Series contenders.
It's probably hard to wrap your head around just how good Pittsburgh is right now, but simply taking things at face-value, this is a very talented baseball team, and I don't see many real weaknesses from top to bottom.
If you can just forget about the many years of losing and the fan psychology that goes along with that (easier said than done, I know), there is no question the Pirates are one of the most talented baseball teams in the Major Leagues--I believe their 46-30 record (the second best in the game) speaks to that.
While driving to my bowling match last night, I turned the game on just in time to hear the top of the ninth inning unfold. As I made my commute, I thought to myself, "Oh well, even if Pittsburgh loses, you gotta love the fight in this team, and hey, taking two of three against the Angels isn't the norm."
For the Pirates to come all the way back to win was gravy, and as it turns out, it was their first ever sweep of an interleague road series.
The Pirates now have a 7.5 game lead for a wild card spot. I know it's early, but if Pittsburgh was a first place team with that kind of lead, the fans would be going nuts. Speaking of first place, the Cardinals were swept over the weekend and now only have a one-game advantage over the Battlin' Buccos.
Dare I say, these Pirates have come of age.