The 2021 Pittsburgh Pirates will not go down in the record books as one of the most recognizable and memorable teams in franchise history, more likely the opposite, but still delivered numerous significant moments.
Every season is unique in its own way and shines a few positive lights into even a dark year for players and organizations.
Before the 2022 season begins and a new CBA agreement is reached, Bucs Dugout looks back on the 2021 campaign and the top moments throughout the year.
For the next several weeks, we will look back on the season that was with eight of the best moments of the season — bracket-style!
For the next four days, we will look back on two of the season’s top moments and at the end of the second moment, fans will vote on their favorite.
The moments that win out this week will be featured in the semifinals next week. The moments that win in the semifinals will move on to the finals to determine what the fans believe is the 2021 season’s top moment!
July 17: Stallings’s walk-off grand slam vs. Mets
This game actually started off as a pitchers’ duel of sorts, with Wil Crowe going up against the Mets’ Tylor Megill. Both gave up hits here and there, but the scoring started in earnest in the top of the fourth inning, when J.D. Davis hit a dinger with Jeff McNeil on base. Davis did it again in the sixth, this time with Pete Alonso on board to make it 4-0 Mets. Kyle Keller had his wheels fly off in the seventh, not helped by Ke’Bryan Hayes’s fielding error that let Luis Guillorme get on base. He would score on a Travis Blankenhorn double to get the run party started, and at the end of the seventh, it was six-oh Mets.
But the Pirates began stirring in the eighth. Bryan Reynolds walked, Ben Gamel singled, and John Nogowski doubled, bringing home Reynolds. Gregory Polanco walked, and Kevin Newman ground into a fielder’s choice that scored Gamel and got the Big Nogowski to third.
Then the dulcet tones of Whitney Houston announced Wilmer Difo’s arrival at the plate, and with one swing he put the Bucs back in the game, 6-5. The Mets’ Brandon Nimmo, though, was like “hey, I can do that too” and hit a solo shot to make it 7-5 in the top of the ninth. In came the Mets’ closer, Edwin Diaz, and Pirates fans were either reaching for their remotes or looking for the exits at PNC.
But he hit Hayes. He walked Reynolds. He got Gamel out, but Nogowski got an infield single. Polanco struck out, and up came Stallings.
Who did this:
And the BD game thread was immediately filled with this:
For a guy who’s not known for his big bat, the Cheetah was clutch, ensuring the 9-7 win over the much-higher-payrolled Mets. Just saying.