Saturday, July 9, 2011

Recap: The Fort. BUCS WIN.

team-spacer 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 inning-spacer R H E LOB
Cubs 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 score-spacer 4 11 0 10
Pirates 0 0 2 0 0 1 0 4 X score-spacer 7 12 0 5

Every time the Cubs would go ahead, the Bucs would answer back. Aramis Ramirez solo homer? No problem, Neil Walker will score two on an infield single. Alfonso Soriano 2-RBI double? No worries, Cutch will hit a solo shot to tie it back up. Then finally after a Darwin Barney RBI single in the top of the 8th, some magic happened for the sellout crowd at PNC. Matt Diaz drew a close walk to start the inning and was replaced on base by Pedro Ciriaco, the first time he has been seen in weeks it seems. After Cutch flied out to right, it was Neil Walker's turn at bat. He grounded to second, but what seemed like a simple double play for the Cubs was held to a fielder's choice because of some smart baserunning by Ciriaco, the most he has contributed to the team all year. Instead of sliding directly into second, knowing he was out, he slid directly into Starlin Castro, making his throw to first go over the head of Carlos Pena and setting the stage for what would happen next. After a Lyle Overbay single, Mike Quade decided he had seen enough and decided to call on his closer Marmol to face the Pirates' 7th hitter Josh Harrison, aka J-Hay All Day. J-Hay hit one up the middle and scored Walker on a close play at the plate. The Bucs had tied it up, but they weren't done yet. Mike McKenry was up to bat, and quickly fell into an 0-2 count, usually an easy out for Marmol. But McKenry worked Marmol, fouling off pitch after pitch until finally he got the one he was looking for. He blasted it deep to the Left Field bleachers, and the sellout crowd went ballistic. After that all that remained was for Xavier Paul to ground out and Joel Hanrahan to mow down 3 Cubs batters to get his record-breaking 26th save before the break.

McKenry's home run was one of the most memorable late-inning homers in PNC Park history. Others had come before, like Pedro's walkoff slam late last year or Cutch's blast against the D-Backs earlier this year, but none had come with the Pirates in the midst of a pennant race and only 1 game out of first. It's a great time to be a Pirates fan.

VFPH's 3 Stars of the Game

  1. PIT Michael McKenry, C: 1 for 4, 1 R, 3 RBI, 3-run HR
  2. PIT Josh Harrison, 3B: 3 for 4, 1 R, 1 RBI
  3. CHC Marlon Byrd, CF: 3 for 3, 2 R, 1 BB
Play of the Game: Fort McKenry's home run in the 8th

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