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Pirates win third in a row, move into Wild Card position

Jeffrey Phelps

The Pirates homered four times against the Cubs to win their third in a row, 10-4, on Sunday, and move into sole possession of the second Wild Card spot. That means the Brewers also lost for ... let's just say the fortieth time in a row.

The Bucs jumped all over the Cubs early, as Neil Walker hit a two-run homer in the first. In the second, Starling Marte singled home a run, then came home on Jordy Mercer's homer. Then Andrew McCutchen followed with a homer of his own as the Pirates went back-to-back. (It's a shame that the second homer in a pair of back-to-back shots can only bring home one run. Back-to-back homers should be like consecutive strikes in bowling, where consistent dominance has a multiplicative effect.) The Pirates then brought home yet another run with three straight singles.

And so the Steelers game was at halftime, and yet it was the Pirates who were up by a touchdown. That was more than enough. Gerrit Cole allowed a few runs later on despite throwing 99 MPH and striking out eight batters, but he helped make for that by capping the Pirates' offensive outburst with his first career homer, a no-doubter in the seventh.

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By the way, in case you're curious, the Pirates outrighted Chris McGuiness and Michael Martinez before the game. There isn't a great chance either of them will ever play for the Bucs again, so that hardly seemed to be worth its own post.