Originally written on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 11/17/14
They did it again. Another win. Another comeback. Another Russell Martin walk-off. The result: a sweep, a 9-2 homestand, the best record in baseball, and a four game lead in the division.  Just incredible. Early in the afternoon, this wasn’t shaping up to be a great day for the Bucs. Andrew McCutchen had been scratched with a sore shoulder, Gerrit Cole wasn’t sharp in the first inning and gave up two quick runs, and Marlins phenom pitcher Jose Fernandez was dealing. Cole settled down a bit, but surrendered a 2-run blast (a very impressive opposite field shot) to impressive Fish rookie Christian Yelich making it 4-0. Things certainly looked quite bleak for the Pirates at that point on a hot getaway day afternoon. Even though the Pirates weren’t hitting Fernandez much, though, they did a very good job making him work hard in every inning early on (Fernandez helped with some wildness – he walked four). They got him up to 101 pitches in five innings, knocking him out far sooner than most would’ve expected. More importantly, they scratched two runs across in the fifth to get back in the game when Neil Walker looped a popup in to no-man’s land and Pedro Alvarez singled in a run. Even though Walker was foolishly thrown out at the plate to damage the rally, the Bucs were back in it and the Marlins’ ace was done for the day. After a scoreless sixth, Chad Qualls came out to pitch the seventh in Miami, and immediately the Bucs were in business. Qualls did typical Chad Qualls things and quickly loaded the bases with no outs before departing the game. Neil Walker and Gaby Sanchez proceeded to deliver two sac flies in ONE INNING (!!!), tying the game. The rally was fueled by a tense walk by Pedro against lefty Mike Dunn, as well as a rocket pinch hit single by McCutchen – who got a rousing standing ovation when he stepped towards the plate. The Bucco bullpen was amazingly brilliant, as usual. Jeanmar Gomez atoned for Cole’s short start by tossing two scoreless frames, enabling the offense to mount a comeback. Justin Wilson had a scare in the eighth when he loaded up the bases, but escaped. Mark Melancon worked his typical easy ninth inning, and Jared Hughes tossed a great tenth. Absolutely stellar work from everyone in the Shark Tank yet again. The Bucs got men to second in the eighth and ninth but couldn’t score, though the constant pressure they were putting on the Marlins made it feel like it was just a matter of time. Indeed, after Josh Harrison rolled a leadoff single up the middle in the tenth, moved up on a sac bunt, then watched Starling Marte take an intentional walk, Martin came up to the plate as the last man off the bench. Mr. Walkoff delivered again with a smash down the 3B line to win it. Even though it’s the Marlins, this was yet another feel-good, team-wide comeback victory that punctuates an outstanding, possibly season-defining homestand. The crowd was wonderful yet again as over 33K showed up to an afternoon game against lowly Miami. Something special is happening here, and it’s truly an incredible thing to witness. Pirates 5, Marlins 4 / Box / 2013 Record: 70-44 / Next: Friday, at Rockies, 8:40 Source: FanGraphs
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