Originally posted on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 9/30/12
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The Pirates certainly made their 81st loss about as painful as possible, and after one night of happiness, they followed it up by dropping number 82 in a different fashion–but just as agonizing.

Coming into this game, the Bucs were 69-0 when leading after eight innings. Joel Hanrahan had blown a few saves, but each time the Pirates came back to win anyway. Now, they’re 69-1. And the one clinched the 20th losing season in a row, eliminating any slight hope that the Bucs could win out and finish .500. The culprits? Xavier Paul and Ryan Ludwick, both former Pirates from last year. Paul led off by pounding an outside pitch from Hanrahan over the Clemente wall, and after two outs Ludwick came up with a pinch hit double…which was followed by another double by Zack Cozart. The Pirates, who had been in control of the game since the 5th inning, were all of a sudden three outs away from the loss everyone’s been dreading for weeks. Oh, and Aroldis Chapman was warming up.

But Chapman walked Jose Tabata on four pitches to lead off the inning. Then he threw a wild pickoff throw, so Jose took off for second…and then went on to third under Nick Leyva’s instruction. Reds 2B Wilson Valdez fired a strike to gun him down. Just to make the mistake seem even worse (making the first out at third is a cardinal sin, obviously), Clint Barmes also walked and Rod Barajas got a base hit. Michael McKenry and Starling Marte struck out, though, and that was it.

Wandy Rodriguez pitched another solid game: 6 innings, 2 runs (on three hits in the third inning) and left with the lead. The Bucs answered with Garrett Jones‘ 26th homer of the year – a two run shot that tied the game. In the fifth, Alex Presley led off with a double and came around to score on Andrew McCutchen‘s single to give the Bucs the lead that would stand until the ninth.

Twenty losing seasons in a row. The worst collapse in baseball history – as defined by being the only team 16 games over .500 through 108 games to finish with less than 81 wins – is complete. I’m not really in the mood to rant and rave about how terrible this all is–we all KNOW how bad it’s been. We have a long offseason to dissect the management situation and all that.

Personally, I’m just glad it’s over…I won’t have to be frustrated with another Pirates loss for six months. That’s pretty much the only positive I can come up with.

Reds 4, Pirates 3 / Box / 2012 Record: 77-82 / Next: Monday, vs. Braves, 7:05

MVP: Jones (+.178) / LVP: Hanrahan (-.671) / Key play: Paul’s HR

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