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Pirates 5, Astros 3: Bucs Within One Game Of First Place

I'm learning many things this year about how to write about a contending team - glancing at the standings each day, taking a more nuanced view of the trading deadline, and so on. One of those involves the perils of worrying too much about the next week or two of games, and thinking, 'Well, if they win one out of three against Good Team X and three out of four against Good Team Y, they'll be in great shape for interleague play next week." You can do that if you want, but day-to-day variance make it unlikely that things will turn out the way you plan.

Still, it's really tempting to look at an upcoming schedule of nine games against the Astros and Cubs and dream that if the Pirates perform as they should against two really bad teams, they have a chance to leave .500 in the dust, and not only that, but they could even wind up in first place in the NL Central when all is said and done.

It's great to see that the Bucs took one step toward making that happen today by beating the Astros, 5-3, and moving to within a game - one game! - of the Cardinals and Brewers. They posted 13 hits against Houston starter Brett Myers (see above for the photo of the week), highlighted by Alex Presley's second triple of the season - he's now hitting .364/.421/.606 and has been, knock on wood, exactly the spark that Pirates fans hoped he'd be when they were screaming for him to be called up. Also, Lyle Overbay had his second straight multi-hit game, and so did Neil Walker

The Bucs are now 44-41.