Pirates-Yankees: Bucs Get the Monkey Off Their Back

Andrew KaufmanSenior Analyst IJune 24, 2008

In 2005 and 2007, the Pirates limped home from a series with the Yankees to see their season fall apart.

This year, they might actually be able to take away a few positive memories.

The Pirates beat the Yankees, 12-5 Tuesday night to temporarily halt their interleague slide, and move back within three games of .500.

The game was billed as the Yankees’ first appearance in Pittsburgh since the Buckos emerged victorious in the 1960 World Series. It was also the Pirates’ first win over the Bronx Bombers since then.

The storylines in 2005 and 2007 were essentially identical. Each year, they Pirates played the Yanks tough early in the series. Each year, they suffered a devastating loss in one of the games. And each year, the Pirates folded not only in the rest of the series, but essentially for the rest of the season.

The 2005 series was a particularly heartbreaking one, as the Pirates, for all intents and purposes, won one of the games. A missed call on a would-have-been-game-ending double play extended the game into extra innings. The Yanks would go on to win.

There would be no such misfortune Tuesday—the Pirate bats made sure of that. Pittsburgh roughed up New York starter Darrell Rasner en route to notching 19 hits in the victory. Adam LaRoche, whose improved performance will be critical if the Bucs are to make a run, had three hits, and Jose Bautista and Ryan Doumit each hit a home run to continue their respective hot streaks.

The Pirates are now the fourth-highest scoring team in the Majors.

Pitching Coach Jeff Andrews also had something to smile about—sort of. Tom Gorzelanny overcame control problems to keep the Yankees off the board and the Pirates in the lead, improving his record to 6-6 despite an extremely poor ERA and WHIP numbers. With the recent injuries to Ian Snell and Phil Dumatrait, it is even more imperative that Gorzelanny regain his 2007 form.

With a loss, the Pirates would have dropped to 3-7 in interleague play and five games under .500 on the year. After a week of bad losses, injuries, and overall turmoil, Pittsburgh can now look to this strong overall performance against one of baseball’s most revered teams as inspiration to once again push towards that elusive winning record.

It took 48 years for the Pirates to notch another victory over the Yankees.

It couldn’t have come at a better time.