A week ago, Pirates fans were feeling kind of bummed after closer Jason Grilli gave up a tying home run to Jay Bruce in the bottom of the ninth inning in a game Pittsburgh would go on to lose, 2-1, to the Reds in 13 innings.
For a team that has suffered two consecutive monumental collapses to end the last two seasons, any kind of heartbreaking loss has to shake the confidence of the fan base, even just a little.
Fortunately, the players shook off the loss and came back the following afternoon and won, 5-3, before heading to Anaheim where they proceeded to sweep the Angels in a three game weekend series.
The Pirates closed out their nine game trip by winning two games in Seattle against the struggling Mariners.
Like any good team, the Pirates went right to work, Tuesday night, clubbing five home runs in a 9-4 thrashing to improve to 17 games above .500 for the first time since 1992.
If ever there was a day for a let-down, it was a Wednesday matinee against Mariners' ace, Felix Hernandez.
Hernandez was his usual dominant self against Pittsburgh, giving up two earned runs and striking out 11 in seven innings. However, Jeanmar Gomez, making his first start since returning from the disabled last, went five innings, only giving up a run. And after the Mariners tied the game in the bottom of the sixth inning reliever Justin Wilson, the rest of the Pirates impressive bullpen shut things down from there.
In the top of the ninth inning, shortstop Jordy Mercer hit a two out single to give the Pirates a 3-2 lead. Pittsburgh would add an insurance run later in the inning on a wild pitch to make the final score, 4-2.
Pittsburgh went 7-2 on the nine game road-swing, winning the last six in a row, and is now 3.5 games up on the Reds in the NL Central, thanks to Cincinnati's second straight loss to the A's, Wednesday afternoon, and to within a half game of St. Louis.
The win also moves the Pirates nine games up in the National League Wild Card standings, heading into Wednesday night's action.