The Pirates accomplished the inconceivable Saturday night, resurrecting themselves after a soul-smashing, limb-crushing, psyche-destroying Friday-night defeat to beat the Reds, 4-2, and move back into sole possession of the first Wild Card spot.
The Reds scored a run off A.J. Burnett in the first, twisting the stake they'd already slammed through the stomach of the Pirates' season with their utterly devastating win on Friday. Then, in the second inning, they drove a monster truck over the stake-impaled, buzzard-picked remains of the Pirates' corpses, as Zack Cozart hit a solo home run.
Somehow, however, the Pirates slapped some moisturizer on their tire-treaded skin, sat up, pulled the stakes from their undead guts, used those stakes to stab the unwitting buzzards attempting to prey upon them, and dined on life-giving buzzard meat, emerging stronger than ever before. Pedro Alvarez reached on a Joey Votto error in the second, and on the very next pitch, Russell Martin, causing fainting spells throughout PNC Park with the foul smell of his undead body, belted a two-run homer to left to make it 2-2.
Surely the Reds, newly strong after pillaging the city of Pittsburgh, burning Federal Street to the ground and feeding on the Pirates' clubhouse food, were just toying with a Bucs team whose season was clearly over. But no! A.J. Burnett, his flesh visibly dying, his wounds visibly festering, returned to the mound in the top of the third, picked up the ball, and shouted, "I'M F****** HUNGRY!" After dining upon Brandon Phillips and Ryan Ludwick in that third inning, Burnett quickly realized that Cincinnati flesh tastes like Skyline Chili, and was repulsed. But he continued destroying Reds hitters, leaving behind their dessicated corpses for the Pirates' grounds crew and ball girls to consume after the game.
Then, in the sixth, Andrew McCutchen walked, and moved up to third on a throwing error by Homer Bailey. Justin Morneau then walked, and Marlon Byrd hit a sacrifice fly that brought home McCutchen. The Reds quickly realized their error -- had they simply claimed Byrd on waivers last month when they had the chance, he would not have come to Pittsburgh to bash their brains in, gnaw on their meat, bury their bodies and despoil their lockers. But alas, they had failed, and Walt Jocketty would have to watch from six stories above the field as his error led to his players being torn to shreds like Thanksgiving turkeys. And then, Zach Duke replaced Homer Bailey, and the cameramen who had not yet left their posts in terror panned in to see the undead Pirates' eyes glowing greedily. Pedro Alvarez singled to left to bring in Morneau.
Burnett went seven innings, striking out 12 and leaving a few Reds bloodied and clinging to life. "F****** FINISH THEM!" thundered the undead Burnett to the Pirates' bullpen, and they did, with Jason Grilli returning to save his first game since late July. When the game finally ended, the grass at PNC Park was soaked with more blood than any field since Antietam, strewn with the half-eaten torsos and limbs and organs of the Reds' players, field staff and clubhouse attendants. "A New Pirate Generation" played feebly on the loudspeakers, as it often does, but the Pirates' newfound power could not be hidden even by the worst rock song of the millennium. Their fans were unsure whether to cheer or to cower, but they were certain that, after this miraculous turnaround, the Pirates would never lose a baseball game again.
That's exactly what happened. Either that, or the loss last night didn't necessarily prove anything, and this win doesn't either. One of the two.