Originally posted on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 8/17/12

Emotions were running high on Thursday at PNC Park, and while the Dodgers melted down, the Pirates were able to come up with a much-needed victory.

The Pirates couldn’t have asked for a better start. A.J. Burnett set the tone with a quick 1-2-3 inning, and the Bucs were able to strike first against Joe Blanton. Starling Marte beat out an infield hit to lead off the bottom of the first, and after an out Andrew McCutchen walked. Garrett Jones then blasted a 3-run shot over the Clemente wall. After all the early deficits the Bucs faced in this homestand, a 3-0 lead in the first inning had to have been a great feeling, especially with Burnett on the mound.

Burnett would end up relinquishing that lead, but not before some drama on the part of the Dodgers. With Andre Ethier at the plate in the second, Matt Kemp was barking at home plate ump Angel Campos about balls and strikes. Campos had enough and tossed Kemp in the middle of the at-bat, which brought LA manager Don Mattingly and Kemp onto the field for an extended tirade. Kemp (who had already been tossed) was going nuts, shoving past teammates to get into the face of the umpires, while Mattingly was eventually tossed as well and spent a long time expressing his displeasure to the ump crew. The scene was apparently so profane that the TV cameras picked up a hilarious shot of a dad covering his kid’s ears so he wouldn’t hear some specific vocabulary from the exchange. Mattingly later picked up on this from the clubhouse and sent the kid a signed ball with a note (this is from the dad’s Facebook, via Deadspin)

Hilarious. (And as Rumbunter points out, the mom sitting nearby not show the same concern for her son).

Anyway, Burnett allowed a homer later in the inning and the Bucs quieted down at the plate for the next few frames. The Dodgers made more noise in the fourth, starting with a leadoff double and a bunt single. Hanley Ramirez then smoked a homer to center that gave Los Angeles a 4-3 lead and really took the wind out of the Pirates’ sails. While rounding second, Ramirez did his “I see you” hand motion(think of it as his personal version of the Zoltan) towards the LA dugout (and also towards Burnett), and Burnett was clearly not pleased with it.

AJ Burnett on Hanley Ramirez: “if you’re gonna hit a homer, act like you’ve hit one before.” #Pirates #Dodgers

— Chris Adamski (@BuzzsawPGH) August 16, 2012

The Bucs battled back quickly, tying the game via some unlikely offense. Rod Barajas drew a one out walk, and Clint Barmes lined one to the gap. Barajas chugged and chugged and chugged and finally made it home (barely), tying the game. Barmes cruised into third with a triple (his first since 2009), but was stranded.

Burnett put up a zero, and the Bucs went back to work at the plate in the next inning. Jordy Mercer (playing second for the injured Neil Walker, who will hopefully only be out a few days) led off with a single. McCutchen walked again, setting the table for Jones. Blanton got ahead 0-2, but left a fastball up and paid for it dearly when Jones pounded it to the back row of the stands in right-center. Not only was it Jones’ second homer of the day, it was his second three-run shot of the day–good for a career high 6 RBI. Enormous. The crowd encouraged him to give a curtain call, and he obliged.

After an out, Pedro Alvarez (who also had a double and a single on the day) golfed a homer to the bushes in center. That chased Blanton, who was ejected (not that it mattered) for mouthing off to the ump as he left the field. That led to another confrontation–things really got out of hand for a Dodgers team that looked to be firing on all cylinders this week.

Burnett came back with another zero, punctuated by a strikeout of Ramirez. As Ramirez whined to the ump (surprise surprise) after the K, Burnett barked some choice words towards Hanley. Here’s the GIF (via SB Nation):

A.J. had his struggles in the seventh, though. He yielded two singles and got two outs, then hit Shane Victorino to load the bases. An infield single off Burnett’s leg brought home one run, then Burnett hit another batter to bring in another. He was pulled after that for Tony Watson (who would NOT have been my choice in that situation), and Watson was thankfully able to bail him out by inducing an inning-ending groundout.

It obviously wasn’t a very good outing for Burnett, but you’re still going to hear about his leadership and giving the team a lift. The animated barking at Ramirez might turn in to a moment to rally behind–fans certainly loved it on Twitter and such. He won his 15th game, becoming the FIRST PIRATES PITCHER SINCE Todd Ritchie IN 1999 to do that. Holy cow.

The Bucs loaded up the bases in the bottom of the seventh, and Barmes delivered again (!) with a base hit to bring in two. That provided plenty of insurance for Jason Grilli and Joel Hanrahan, who got some work in despite the fact the Bucs led by four.

Obviously, the Pirates needed this win badly. They now head into a huge weekend series with a little momentum, and they also gained a game on the Reds (6 GB in division) and Cardinals (1 game ahead for 2nd wild card spot) in the process. Just as I said that Wednesday was a bad day, Thursday was a good one.

Pirates 10, Dodgers 6 / Box / 2012 Record: 65-53 / Next: Friday, at Cardinals, 8:15

MVP: Jones (+.444) / LVP: Burnett (-.449) / Key play: Ramirez’s HR

Most strikeouts by a hitter in a single season
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