Sometimes, it’s just not your night. It was apparent right from the get-go that Kevin Correia didn’t have his best stuff on Saturday night and when Alex Presley got gunned out at home plate after leading off the game with a double and trying to score on Chase d’Arnaud’s single, it was pretty easy to get the feeling that this wasn’t going to be the Buccos night. They dug a four-run deficit before getting on the scoreboard, then gave another run back after cutting the score to 4-1. After that, they just couldn’t get a big hit after Matt Diaz’s two-run double cut the score to 5-3. The ended the night 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position, and never really seemed close to igniting the rally they needed to tie the game up.
I hate to bring this up, but the way the game ended didn’t help either. With Presley on first and one out, d’Arnaud hit a slowish ground ball to Starlin Castro that immediately looked like it’d be a tough double play, given d’Arnaud’s speed. Darwin Barney wasn’t exceptionally fast on his turn and d’Arnaud beat the throw to first by almost a full step, but it looked like John Hirschbeck started to call him out before the play was even over. It probably wouldn’t have made a difference, but with the way things are going for the Pirates right now I would’ve liked to see Neil Walker and Andrew McCutchen get their hacks at Carlos Marmol. The Pirates did plenty to put themselves in a 6-3 and can’t really complain about one call, but it was awfully galling to see the game like that.
Despite the loss, this is going to be a Pirate game that I don’t think anyone watching either at the park or at home will forget anytime soon. While the Pirates were batting in the bottom of the fourth inning, the team announced on the scoreboard that Andrew McCutchen made the All-Star team as an injury replacement for Ryan Braun. The sold out PNC crowd erupted in cheers, they cheered through Mike McKenry’s double, and they forced McCutchen out of the dugout to tip his cap. It was a goosebumps moment, even watching on my computer. It was, maybe more than anything, a “Pittsburgh can be a baseball town, critics be damned,” moment. I lead the bandwagon when it comes to complaining about Pittsburghers not appreciating Andrew McCutchen enough, but to see 39,000+ on their feet, cheering the hometown star finally getting the acknowledgment he deserves from the rest of baseball and getting the curtain call from him … it was perfect.
Losing these games to the Cubs and Astros this week has created a weird feeling; after years and years of losing I’d generally become numb to most Pirate losses, but suddenly they’re losing games in mid-July that are keeping them out of first place. The wall exists for these games, too. The Brewers lost tonight, which means that the Pirates will stay one game out of first place and have a chance to pull even tomorrow afternoon. There’s no time to linger on a poorly played game because tomorrow’s is even more important.