Legends On Deck

Pirates Only 2.5 Games Out, After Thrilling Series With Cards

Mandatory Credit: H.Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports

On June 30th, the Pittsburgh Pirates were 43-33, but eight games behind the first place St. Louis Cardinals who were 51-25. But since then, the Pirates are 10-2, and have picked up 4.5 games and now trail the Cards (56-32) by only 3.5 games.

The resurgence of the Pirates have been one of the great baseball stories of 2015, as the Cardinals first looked to be running away with the division.

On the final weekend of the break, the Pirates and Cards faced off for a four game series that would prove that either St. Louis would pull further away or Pittsburgh would be the team to finally take down the mighty Cardinals.

On Thursday, the Pirates entered the series riding a five-game hitting streak while the cardinals entered winning four of their last six games. But St. Louis would pulled away in the game with four runs in the top of the fifth and shut down the Pirates surging offense the rest of the way to win 4-1. The only blemish was a solo home run to Andrew McCutchen in the bottom of the ninth.

In game two, the Pirates scored first in the bottom of the first on an RBI double from Jordy Mercer scoring Neil Walker to take and early 1-0 lead. After a scoreless second inning, both teams scored two runs each in the third, but the Pirates added two more runs in the bottom of the third, pulling away with a 5-2 win.

On Saturday, the game took 14 innings before a winner was decided. After five innings the Cardinals led the Pirates 3-1 and looked to be in control towards a victory, but the Pirates tied the game with two runs in the bottom of the eighth, which sent the game into extra innings.

In the tenth, the Cardinals took a 4-3 lead, but the Pirates answered right back in their half of the inning, tying the game on an RBI single off the bat of Chris Stewart scoring Jung Ho Kang, who tripled to lead off the inning.

In the top of the 14th, the Cards struck again on an RBI single by Jhonny Peralta scoring Matt Carpenter to take a 5-4 lead. But the Pirates would not be outdone, as Andrew McCutchen hit a walk-off, two-run home run to steal a victory from the Cardinals and pull within 3.5 games.

On Sunday, the Cards looked to even the series and go into the break on a high note, and the Pirates looked to continue their rise to the top and steal the series.

After as scoreless first, the Cardinals took an early 1-0 lead after Mark Reynolds grounded into a double play, scoring Jason Heyward in the process.

The Pirates, as they have been doing all weekend, answered right back scoring two runs to take the lead on a single from starter Francisco Liriano scoring Francisco Cervelli and Gregory Polanco.

The next half inning, Peralta on the ninth pitch he saw, launched his 13th home run of the season over the left center field fence to tie the game at 2-2.

In the bottom of the fourth, the Pirates jumped out to a 3-2 lead when Sean Rodriguez scored on a single off the bat of Polanco.  The Cardinals tied the game in the top of the eighth when Kolten Wong scored after a ground out by Yadier Molina.

So the game went into extra innings for the second straight game and in the top of the tenth, the Cardinals scored two runs on an RBI double by Randal Grichuk scoring Pete Kozma and Molina to put St. Louis up 5-3.

The Pirates would not be denied as they continued their surge to the top, scoring three runs in a thrilling bottom of the tenth to steal away an improbable victory and end the first half as one of the hottest teams in the majors.

With two out rally caps on, Starling Marte singled home Jordy Mercer to bring the Bucs within a run at 5-4, then Marte scored on a single by Cervelli to tie the game at 5-5, and Kang came in with the winning run after a walk-off single from Polanco.

The Cardinals were looked at as a powerhouse in the NL Central, but the Pirates are doing everything in their power to show they will be the team to beat.

The Bucs had one of the most exciting weekends of the season and if this is how the first half ends, can’t wait to see how the second half begins.



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