Originally posted on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 7/25/12

The Pirates battled back from two deficits against the best pitcher in the National League this season, and a huge crowd of 33,000-plus saw them defeat the Cubs to avoid a series sweep.

Kevin Correia delivered a solid start and made his case to stay in the rotation. The Cubs’ new stud 1B Anthony Rizzo hit a towering homer to the back of the RF seats for the usual first-inning run off Correia, but as usual he kept things quiet after that. The Cubs got just one more over six innings on a David DeJesus double (that may have been a homer, but fan interference + review made it a double) and a Rizzo RBI single. Correia allowed just one other hit, struck out four, and ended up with another victory and quality start. He would still be my choice to leave the rotation, but I’m not so sure the Pirates will feel the same way because of his recent success.

The Pirates still didn’t look good at the plate for the most part, but they did enough against NL ERA leader Ryan Dempster. Neil Walker answered Rizzo’s first inning homer with a bomb of his own in the bottom of the inning. Dempster got into a grove after that, mowing through the entire order and them some until he faced Michael McKenry for the second time. The Fort got a hold of one, ripping it down the line and off the LF foul pole for a big game-tying shot.

The top of the Bucs’ order untied it in the sixth. Alex Presely and Andrew McCutchen lined singles, and Garrett Jones hit a big two-out double down the line to put the Bucs up 3-2.  After a rough couple of days, the Pirates were able to get the big hits when they needed them.

The bullpen shut things down from thee, just as it’s done all season. Jared Hughes had a clean inning, Jason Grilli worked around a hit with a big strikeout of Rizzo, and Joel Hanrahan pitched a 1-2-3 ninth. The largest 12:35 crowd in PNC Park history appreciated it and went home happy. This wasn’t a very good series for the Bucs, but at least they ended it on the right note.

Pirates 3, Cubs 2 / Box / 2012 Record: 55-42 / Next: Thursday, at Astros, 8:05

MVP: Jones (+.164) / LVP: McGehee (-.106) / Key play: Jones’ double

©2012 Raise the Jolly Roger. All Rights Reserved.

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