The Pirates got seven good innings from a returning Gerrit Cole and a key error from Justin Upton as they walked off against the Braves Wednesday, winning 3-2 and finally stopping their seven-game losing streak.
Cole walked four batters but otherwise looked terrific, throwing as hard as 98 MPH even in the seventh inning. He struck out six and allowed two runs (one on a walk and a couple singles in the first, and then one on a bases-loaded single by Chris Johnson in the sixth).
Meanwhile, the Pirates' offense couldn't get much going against Alex Wood, but that changed in the eighth. Gaby Sanchez led off with a walk, and Travis Snider moved Sanchez to third with a double. Jordan Walden then replaced Wood and struggled, allowing Sanchez to score with a groundout and Snider to come in on a wild pitch that landed way out in front of the plate.
Mark Melancon pitched a scoreless ninth, and the Bucs headed to the bottom of the inning with the score tied, and the Braves sent the solid David Carpenter, rather than the brilliant Craig Kimbrel, to face the heart of the Bucs' lineup. Jordy Mercer singled and Andrew McCutchen popped out. Then Starling Marte hit a fly ball to the left-center gap, nearly causing a two-Upton collision. The ball fell in, and the Pirates had runners on second and third with one out.
We're all used to the Pirates failing to get a run home in situations like that one, but this time, they succeeded, as Sanchez lifted a sacrifice fly to center to bring Mercer home and finish off the win. It's been a long time coming.