Originally written on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 11/15/14
Playoff baseball is coming to PNC Park for the first time ever. Tuesday night, at 8:07 PM, it will happen. The Pirates came up huge in a playoff-type atmosphere in Cincinnati, delivering SIX homers as they dominated their second straight ballgame to take the series and clinch home field in the upcoming Wild Card game. And while home field may not be crucial for a one-game situation, it IS crucial for Pittsburgh fans that have dreamed of seeing a live postseason game. And you can bet that PNC will be insanely fired up, providing as big of a home field advantage as a crowd of 40K possibly could. SIX homers! Neil Walker (x2, putting the Bucs ahead both times). Andrew McCutchen (back-to-back, following Walker’s first). Pedro Alvarez (tying the game with a gigantic blast, his second in as many days). Marlon Byrd (yet another big hit, which broke the game open). Andrew Lambo (first career homer).  Absolutely ridiculous performance by the offense, which just might finally be breaking out. Wouldn’t that be awesome? Even a week-long hot spurt would do. Every homer was significant, and had to be big in sucking the life out of a sold-out Great American Ball Park (with the exception of several very boisterous Pirates fans in attendance). Charlie Morton did not have one of his better games. He walked five and did not get through five innings, and allowed three runs in a rough third inning after the Bucs handed him a 2-0 lead. To his credit, he did a very nice job keeping things from getting out of hand and got out of a couple jams with some big pitches. Vin Mazzaro also bailed him out of the fifth, when the Reds stranded the bases loaded with one out. Huge. The bullpen handled things from there with no issues, although the lead was a comfortable one. Justin Wilson shut down a potential rally in the sixth, and it was nice to see Mark Melancon toss a 1-2-3 eighth inning. Tony Watson and Bryan Morris also tossed scoreless frames with ease. The Pirates have the top wild card spot wrapped up. Sunday’s game is now meaningless, and will surely be full of reserves from both teams. Gerrit Cole will not pitch for the Pirates and should be available out of the bullpen on Tuesday. On the other hand, the Reds will not pitch Johnny Cueto and will start him on Tuesday instead. That’s interesting news and will certainly terrify Pirate fans – Cueto has simply owned the Bucs, especially at PNC Park. But, he has not pitched much at all this season and has only made a few short starts against bad teams this month since returning from his injury. The Pirates, of course, will start Francisco Liriano. We have a few days to prepare for that matchup. For now, it’s time to enjoy the fact that October baseball will be back in Pittsburgh. I can’t wait for Tuesday night! Pirates 8, Reds 3 / Box / 2013 Record: 93-68 / Next: Sunday, at Reds, 1:10 Source: FanGraphs
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