Too much of a good thing is not too much when it comes to pennant race baseball. And tonight Pirates fans are getting their fill.
It took nearly four hours for the Bucs to emerge victorious in the first game of this evening's doubleheader, 2-1, but you could hardly notice the length of the game as the baseball atmosphere, both in terms of weather and crowd, could not have been better.
For the second game in a row the Pirates held the National League's most potent offense in check. A.J. Burnett and the Pirates bullpen were masterful. But in some ways the bigger story was the Pirates' defense. By my count Bucs fielders make at least seven above-average defensive plays, none bigger and none better than a brilliant 6-4-3 double play in the top of 10th, which extracted the Bucs from a first and third, one out situation.
The winning run came in the bottom of the 11th when, with runners on first and second, Alex Presley singled home Russell Martin on a ground ball that deflected off Cardinals pitcher Kevin Siegrist and spun into left-center field.
As we prepare the tonight's second game, the Pirates stand alone in first place.
Here is the lineup for tonight's second game:
Starling Marte LF
Jordy Mercer SS
Andrew McCutchen CF
Gaby Sanchez 1B
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Tony Sanchez C
Jose Tabata RF
Josh Harrison 2B
Brandon Cumpton P