Pittsburgh Pirates Lose a Devastating 14-Inning Marathon in Cincinnati

Paul Francis Sullivan@@sullybaseballChief Writer ISeptember 11, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 10:  Devin Mesoraco #39 of the Cincinnati Reds slides in safely at second base in front of Chase d'Arnaud #3 of the Pittsburgh Pirates during their game at Great American Ball Park on September 10, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  The Reds defeated the Pirates 4-3 in 14 innings.  (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
John Grieshop/Getty Images

This one hurt, Pittsburgh Pirate fans.

In fact the excruciating 14 inning, 4-3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds could very well be a devastating blow to the team and their fading hopes for a playoff spot.

There certainly was no lack of effort on both team's part. Both the Reds and Pirates wiggled out of impossible late game jams that looked as though they would put the game away.

The Pirates loaded the bases in the 11th and the 14th, the latter with nobody out. They failed to score.

The Reds bailed out Pirates reliever Tony Watson when Todd Frazier swung at ball three and four in the ninth inning with a runner on.

Jose Tabata made a game saving catch with two outs in the bottom of the 11th.

And with two outs in the bottom of the 14th, reliever Rick van den Hurk got Ryan Ludwick to ground out but shortstop Chase d'Arnaud could not get it out of his glove and the game was over.

A victory would have meant so much for the Pirates. It would have pulled them to within a game and a half of the Wild Card and help wipe out the memory of the embarrassing sweep at home by the lowly Cubs.

Instead, their losing streak is at four games. They are only four games above .500. They have dropped 21 of their last 30 and spiraling.

And yet a victory tonight and a Cardinal loss puts them right back in to the mix.

Last week, I wrote a Bleacher Report article about why it is better to lose 12-2 than a close extra inning game.

There is no better example of that than last night. The Pirates need to turn their ship around or those bases loaded opportunities will haunt them all winter.