Originally written on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 10/25/14
That. Was. Incredible. The Pirates are moving on to the NLDS after defeating the Reds in the wildest, most emotional, powerful sports environment you will ever witness. After being a part of it, I’m confident that is not hyperbole. This was an absolutely epic evening that no Pirate fan will ever forget. The blackout – which was a tremendous success. The countless rousing ovations, from warmups to player intros to all the big moments in the game. The sea of jolly rogers and black towels. The party on Federal Street, the Clemente Bridge (including this guy, who partied a little too hard), and on streets surrounding the park. The crowd rising and going nuts on numerous two-strike, two out situations. And of course…. CUEEEETTTTOOOOOOOO…..CUUUUEEEEETTTTTOOOOOOO!!!! (Cueto drops ball) [Crowd goes insane] RUSSELL MARTIN CRUSHES A HOMER AHHHHHHH!!!!! That’s the tenth man at work right there. You hear countless pundits and fans boast about how an atmosphere can make an impact on a player’s performance or a game itself. Most of it is probably nonsense. But that was the crowd influencing the game before your very eyes (and ears). Johnny Cueto and the Reds wilted under the pressure of 40,000 crazy people dressed in black, and the Pirates took full advantage, making everyone delirious. Francisco Liriano was a big part of it as well, as he got the crowd right into it with a quick strikeout, a 1-2-3 inning, and another simply excellent start in a huge spot. He followed the plan of completely shutting down the Reds’ left handers, dominating Choo, Votto, and Bruce – who combined for one hit and a HBP against Frankie (Choo homered off Tony Watson). Getting the Pirates off to a clean start was enormous, and after that Liriano mostly cruised. Seven strong innings while allowing just one run, four hits, and a walk…and almost no stress whatsoever – only the fourth inning was a tad messy. Absolutely wonderful work by the Pirate ace, and he reaffirmed why he was the clear-cut choice to start this game. And then there was Cueto, former owner of the Pirates. Not anymore. He was off all night, leaving balls up and out over the zone and paying for it. Even when the Pirates didn’t score in the first, things were looking good because they hit the ball HARD. Marlon Byrd took him deep in the second – Byrd’s first postseason AB despite his long career. Awesome. (Byrd’s good career numbers vs Cueto were a big talking point before the game…and remember how the Reds could have blocked the Pirates from trading for him? Oops.) Two batters later, Martin followed after the crowd jumped on Cueto. The Pirates did not let up. I was a bit surprised Dusty Baker stuck with Cueto so long, and the Bucs were able to take advantage with two more runs. Cueto wasn’t the only Red who appeared rattled – Zack Cozart and Brandon Phillips helped the cause with some shaky defense up the middle. A Pedro sac fly added a third run after Cozart’s error, and once Baker went to the lefty Sean Marshall to turn around Neil Walker, Walker delivered a booming 2-run double anyway to bring home a fourth. Byrd added a fifth run when Phillips botched an easy DP ball and got just one out. The rest of the game went perfectly smoothly. Liriano got through seven, Martin homered again, Watson tossed the eighth (he allowed a solo homer, but no big deal up 6-1), and Jason Grilli finished it off. Listen to Greg Brown call the end. It was a totally thorough, brilliant performance by the Pirates to eliminate their rivals, knocking them off for the fourth straight game to finish their season. Just surreal. The Pirates are going to St. Louis. There will be more playoff baseball at PNC Park on Sunday. I cannot WAIT, and neither can the rest of this city. Buctober is happening. Pirates 6, Reds 2 / Box / Pirates advance to NLDS / Next: Thursday, at Cardinals, 5:00 Source: FanGraphs
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

LSU fan dies at end of win over Ole Miss

Giants surge past Royals to even World Series

Mich. St. upset with Michigan over spear planted on field

TCU puts up 82 points in win over Texas Tech

Agent: Joe Maddon prepared to sit out season if need be

Report: Chandler Jones could miss rest of season

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Army football enticed recruits with alcohol, women

Report: Kobe viewed Dwight Howard's departure as 'positive'

Lions suspend CJ Mosley, send him home from London

Federal judge blocks New Jersey sports betting law

Report: Bucs sign Gerald McCoy to seven-year extension

Tim Tebow lectures Florida fans about booing

WATCH: Kansas St. fans chant 'We own Texas!'

WATCH: Chris Fowler rips 'stupid' fans over ESPN-SEC bias

WATCH: 5-year-old fan cries over Zdeno Chara's injury

LSU knocks off No. 3 Ole Miss

Miss. St. returns onside kick for TD in win over Kentucky

Bad idea: Couple goes blackface for Ray Rice Halloween costume

WATCH: Kentucky DB Blake McClain lays out Miss. St. WR

WATCH: Dwyane Wade videobombs himself

PHOTO: Blue Jackets forward came real close to losing his eye

WATCH: 350-pound Arkansas lineman throws TD pass

Penn State fans blew air horns outside Ohio State's hotel?

WATCH: Oregon's Charles Nelson has impressive punt return TD

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

WATCH: Fowler rips 'stupid' fans

Maddon prepared to sit out season

MSU upset with Michigan over spear

Couple in Ray Rice Blackface costume

Report: Army enticed recruits with alcohol, women

Penn State fans blew air horn at Ohio State players' hotel?

Tim Tebow lectures Florida fans

NBA Replay Center debuts next week

World Series win = Giants dynasty?

Reliving the worst college football game of the last 10 years

NFL teams facing must-win scenarios in Week 8

What the return of Luis Suarez means for Barcelona

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.