Originally written on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 7/8/12

The Pirates put on one heck of a show this afternoon, capping off the homestand and the unofficial end of the first half in grand style. They’ll head to the break 11 games over .500 and in first place, and couldn’t possibly be riding any higher.

The stars of the day were exactly who you’d expect: Andrew McCutchen and A.J. Burnett. McCutchen pounded a two-run homer to right-center in the first inning to set the tone against a struggling Tim Lincecum, and Burnett didn’t yield anything until the game was well in hand. Then McCutchen homered again in the eighth, probably just as a little warm-up for tomorrow’s Derby.

That wasn’t all. Neil Walker went 5-for-5 with a homer of his own, raising his average all the way up to .291. Brad Lincoln pitched 2.2 perfect innings of relief. Casey McGehee had three hits (although he left the game with a groin injury) and Clint Barmes had two. Absolutely everything was beautiful.

The game wasn’t sold out, but the crowd of nearly 30,000 was still very loud and involved. Burnett got an enormous ovation after coming out in the seventh inning, and McCutchen came out for a curtain call after his second homer.

I don’t know what I can really add. It’s been one heck of a first half, and this game seemed like an appropriate way to finish it off. It’s kind of a shame the All-Star break falls at a point where the Bucs are playing so well, but it is what it is. Cutch and Joel Hanrahan are off to KC to represent the Bucs (and earn home field for the NL, which is suddenly relevant) and the boys will be raring to go on Friday. I can’t wait.

Pirates 13, Giants 2 / Box / 2012 Record: 48-37 / Next: Friday, at Brewers, 8:10

MVP: Burnett (+.208) / LVP: Alvarez (-.030) / Key play: McCutchen’s 1st HR

©2012 Raise the Jolly Roger. All Rights Reserved.

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