With the University of Pittsburgh Panthers losing yesterday to Western Michigan and the Steelers dropping their home opener against the Raiders today, the Pirates were in the unlikely position of being the only Burgh team to actually win this weekend.
Stop me if you know where this is going.
The Bucs were literally one out away in the bottom of the ninth with a 4-3 lead against the Marlins this afternoon at loanDepot Park. ONE. OUT. AWAY. From the elusive sweep. Cole Tucker seems to like to play in Florida because he had a great game again today. The hero of the game was poised to be Hoy Park, who smacked a two-run homer in the top of the ninth to take the lead. The guy on base? Tucker. Starter Max
Krammit Kranick (I’m sorry, the Krammit thing will never not be funny to me) did give up three runs, but he also reeled off six consecutive strikeouts, which hadn’t happened since Francisco Liriano did it in 2013. Relievers Anthony Banda, Friend of BD Nick Mears, and Shelby Miller held it down in relief.
Then came Chris Stratton, who as of late has been semi-intriguing as a closer, to do his thing in the ninth. He walked Nick Fortes in between Eddy Alvarez and Jazz Chisholm Jr. groundouts, but no biggie—two outs, right? Don Mattingly put in Magnueris Sierra to run for Fortes, and run he did, off a Bryan De La Cruz single to tie the game.
Ke’Bryan Hayes was the chosen runner in the tenth inning and moved up quickly thanks to a wild pitch by Fish reliever Steven Okert. Ben Gamel sacrificed Young Hayes home for a 5-4 Bucs lead. It’s late in the season, so Derek Shelton obviously thought “why the hell not?” and brought in normally-starting Chad Kuhl to pitch the bottom on the tenth, with the Marlins putting Jesus Sanchez on second.
Why the hell not? Because after going up to a 3-2 count, Lewin Diaz launched one over the center field wall to win the game. It was one of those pitches where you knew the second it came off Kuhl Whip’s fingers that it would be a miracle along the lines of the loaves and fishes for Diaz not to go yard on it.
No miracles today. Just, sadly, #OhForPittsburgh.