It doesn’t get much better than this. Three games decide whether or not the Pittsburgh Pirates will host the first playoff game in the history of PNC Park and standing in their way is the team they will face in that wild card game, the Cincinnati Reds. This series has been tight all year and each of these three games should come down to the wire.
Batman himself, A.J. Burnett, was on the bump for the Buccos and the Dark Knight did not disappoint. He would cruise through eight innings of work allowing one run on five hits, while striking out six and walking one batter. That lone run came in the fourth when Todd Frazier hit a solo home run off the left field foul pole to cut the Pittsburgh lead to 2-1. Burnett was not happy about being lifted after eight innings, but that kind of fire is great to see out of a Pirates pitcher.
The Buccos offense keyed in with a few clutch hits tonight. With the bases loaded in the third, Marlon Byrd would single to left field to bring in the first two runs of the night. The sixth inning is when this game was put away for good. Pedro Alvarez would blast a two run bomb to deep center to make it 4-1. Jason Grilli stepped on the mound in the ninth and after a lead off single, he would induce a double play and ground out to end the game.
This was a big win for Pittsburgh as they now only need to win one of the next two in order to host the wild card game on Tuesday night. For now they gotta move on and focus on game two of this series, which will see Charlie Morton get the nod for the 1:05pm start.
Record vs. Reds: 9-8
Record vs. N.L. Central: 43-31
Record on the Road: 42-37
Overall Record: 92-68
Let’s Go Bucs!