The Pirates poured out of their dugout and quickly spread out over the field like grapeshot blown out of a cannon.
Their target was Gregory Polanco, who when he saw his teammates coming, joyfully ran out into right field as roaring waves of jubilant noise shook everything in the park.
When he finally emerged from the celebration scrum, Polanco's jersey was untucked and he was skipping backwards, smiling and waving his arms. As his teammates continued to high-five and hug in the outfield, Polanco ran towards Clint Hurdle, who was standing near the third base foul line clapping his hands and taking in the scene. The two embraced, and Polanco went bounding down the dugout steps.
Saturday night's hero, Andrew McCutchen, was late to the on-field party because he was standing stunned in the dugout with his hands in the air.
"I didn't know what to do," McCutchen said. "Then I saw everybody running and I was like, ‘Oh yeah, I gotta run.' But, yeah, that was fun. That was a lot of fun."
"Ha! Oh, man!" was all Francisco Cervelli could muster when asked what the emotions were like on the field after Polanco blistered a single into right-field to complete a game-winning three-run rally that was as improbable as it was exhilarating.
"We got one mission: everything or nothing," Cervelli said. "We are family here. We are brothers. ... We're all in together for everything."
Gerrit Cole walked the last 30 yards off the field with his right fist in the air while looking up into the crowd and nodding his head. In the clubhouse, he was packing up his All-Star insignia travel bag.
"It was unbelievable, just unbelievable," Cole said of the emotions on the field. "The focus in the dugout from the first pitch to the last, everybody's in the game. It's just that feeling that we're going to get it done. I don't know how we're going to get it done. But we're going to get it done. [Trevor Rosenthal] comes in and we're like, ‘I don't think this is going to turn out well for them.'"
For the second night in a row, the Pirates gave their fans the baseball ride of their lives.
For the second night in a row, the usually unflappable Cardinals drifted off the field looking confused by the sudden meltdown that engulfed them.
And now, for the second day in a row, Greg Brown's walk-off call will be retweeted and Facebook shared in goose-bump-inducing highlight videos.
At his postgame presser, Hurdle tried to explain the past 48 hours.
"We finish strong," Hurdle said. "We continue to pour everything out there. It's coming from all over the place. There's times where you just watch it all unfold and you're just proud of the men and the way they go out and play."
As Hurdle alluded to, and as has been their way of late, the Pirates received big hits and big plays from players up and down the lineup.
Jordy Mercer said it's the total contribution that makes wins like this so gratifying: "We didn't just use nine or 10 guys, man. We used the whole group and that's what's so satisfying about the whole win. It's not just one guy, it's a bunch of us and that's what's really neat and cool about it."
And while it was a team win, it's so fitting that it was Polanco that provided the final blow tonight. Precisely one week after Neal Huntington was asked by the media if he was open to sending the right-fielder down to the minors, Polanco jolted his teammates and Pirates fans into the All-Star break riding sky high.
With the win, the Pirates are now 2.5 games behind the Cardinals and surfing a tsunami of momentum.
"We got a long way go," Hurdle said. "We finished this deal. This is the first half and we finished it strong. We got some guys that can use the four days off. We'll reset and get back after it Friday in Milwaukee."