PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 25: Hal Sparks from the movie "Dude Where's My Car" shows the Zoltan "Z" before the game against the Chicago Cubs on July 25, 2012 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
If my team is going to get a hit, I would prefer that it be a home run. That's just me. I'm just putting that out there. Some of you might prefer the bunt single, some the ground rule double. I'm not saying that's wrong. Just that I've got a preference. I'm not even dogmatic about it. I don't really care if it's a fence-scraper or an upper-deck bomb or an inside-the-park job. I just like home runs. Call me crazy.
Today's 3-2 win over the Cubs demonstrated the importance of home runs. You might say that it was a pretty satisfying game for us home-run lovers.
Anthony Rizzo hit a no-doubt solo shot to right in the first to give Chicago a 1-0 lead, but Neil Walker responded in the bottom of the inning with a homer of his own. In the top of the third, David DeJesus appeared to hit a homer to center, but he was called back to second on fan interference. He came home anyway when Rizzo knocked him in with a single to right. That was all Kevin Correia gave up, putting up a quality start while striking out four (he keeps doing it!) and walking two.
The Bucs, meanwhile, went down in order until there were two outs in the fifth, at which point slugger Michael McKenry (can I call him that?) smacked a solo shot off the foul pole in left to tie the game at two. Until Alex Presley singled with one out in the sixth, the Pirates had two hits, both of which were home runs. Would you, Pirates fan, prefer that those hits had been line-drive singles? Maybe you would. I'm not knocking you. But I like the homer.
Anyway, after Presley singled, Andrew McCutchen hit a single of his own, and Presley came home when Garrett Jones doubled to right, making it 3-2. Jared Hughes, Jason Grilli (who got Rizzo with a righteous breaking ball to end the eighth) and Joel Hanrahan took over from there. Pirates pitchers got better luck with the homer than Cubs pitchers did, as the Cubs made several outs at the warning track, including a fly ball by Bryan LaHair against Hanrahan leading off the bottom of the ninth that might have been a game-changer if Gorkys Hernandez hadn't gotten to it. (If you ever find yourself wondering what Hernandez is still doing on the roster ... well, it's that.)
The Pirates thus avoided a sweep against the Cubs, fortunately, and will now head to Houston for a series that starts tomorrow night at 8:05. The Reds are there right now, and they'll finish their series against the Astros tonight. It's a shame the Pirates can't stay at PNC for another series or two right now -- the crowd today was enormous for a weekday afternoon.
Oh, and there was the Zoltan guy -- see above.