The Pirates got eight solid innings from Vance Worley and a big TOOTBLAN from Carlos Gomez to beat the Brewers 1-0 and effectively sew up a playoff berth.
You might look at the box score and wonder how eight innings, four singles, five strikeouts and no walks can merely be "eight solid innings." I wasn't able to watch every pitch Worley threw, but based on what I did see and the buzz on Twitter, it didn't seem like Worley had a whole lot -- he just threw a lot of 89 MPH fastballs that sometimes missed spots and still didn't get hit. Obviously, though, it's impossible to argue with the results.
Offensively, the Pirates didn't do much -- they had six hits, and three of those never left the infield. In the seventh, though, Andrew McCutchen hit one of those infield singles and moved up on a passed ball. He then came home on a line-drive single by Russell Martin.
Tony Watson headed out to pitch the ninth, and Gomez led off against him with a single, representing the tying run. Rickie Weeks then hit a chopper back to Watson. Due to the high bounce, the Pirates couldn't get the out at first, but they caught Gomez between second and third and eventually got him in a rundown. It was a huge out -- the Brewers could have had runners at first and second with no outs in the ninth inning of a one-run game. As it stood, Watson hit Aramis Ramirez later in the inning but was able to finish it out without too much trouble.
The Brewers are now 4.5 games back of a playoff spot with six games to play, so it would take a miracle for them to make it. The Pirates are now a half-game back of the Giants for the top Wild Card spot.
UPDATE: The comments about Worley above have spurred some discussion, and the line about Twitter was practically begging for criticism, so let me explain a little bit better. From one of my comments below:
Watch MLB.com’s highlights from Worley’s start (which I think they just posted). Watch Martin’s receiving. On a few of them he’s very quiet — he sets up somewhere, and Worley throws right to that spot. In several cases, though, Worley isn’t throwing to anywhere near Martin’s glove. Maybe there’s some good, gamesmanship-y reason for that, but I doubt it. And notice that Worley keeps getting good results anyway. I don’t think that’s Worley. That’s the Brewers. Now, obviously, Worley is still throwing strikes when he misses, and even his misses aren’t obvious meatballs. But I do think it’s awfully results-oriented to look purely at results, or even at pitch counts.
Worley's command simply wasn't that sharp, in my view. I'm not a scout, so if anyone has a drastically different take on the video above, feel free to post it. I'm sorry if anyone feels this was too negative -- obviously, this was a good day!