Lastings Milledge, Andrew McCutchen Break Pirates' Losing Streak
In a night filled with stories, the Pirates finally ended one—their horrendous twelve-game losing streak.
The Pirates did so in a 6-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians in game two of the series. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1960 Pirates' World Series victory, Pittsburgh fans were out in full force at PNC Park for the third sellout of the season. A contributing factor, one might say, to the elevated play from the struggling ball club.
From the start of the game, the atmosphere was electric and filled with energy. The Pirates welcomed back on the field several of the players from the 1960 World Series team including Bill Mazeroski, Vernon Law, Bill Virdon and even 92-year-old ex-general manager Joe Brown.
It was evident from the minute the Bucs took the field, this wasn't an ordinary game; they had more than one reason to win other than ending the losing streak—avoiding humiliation.
However, the biggest story of the night that eclipsed the end of the losing streak and 50th anniversary was top prospect Pedro Alvarez's first major league hit—a ground rule double to the left field corner, which scored Andrew McCutchen.
Lastings Milledge continued to produce with runners in scoring position, something he has come to be known for, as he is ranked third with a .408 batting average with RISP. Milledge finished just a homerun short of the cycle, finishing 3-4 with four RBIs and a walk.
McCutchen, who has become the face of the franchise, scored four times in the game, as he finished 2-2 with three walks and a stolen base.
Starter Jeff Karstens struggled early, giving up a run in the first inning, but quickly tightened up to give the Pirates four perfect innings before being pulled in the sixth. Karstens gave up a three-run homer in the sixth inning to Russell Branyan to shorten the Pirates lead to only one run.
Manager John Russell wasn't going to allow another blown game, as he changed pitchers four times in the inning, with Evan Meek finally closing it out.
Meek and Joel Hanrahan closed out the seventh and eighth innings, while Octavio Dotel came in the ninth to get his thirteenth save of the season to cap off a Bucs' win—the first since June 5th.
In accordance with the win, there is a lot to be optimistic about. This season is not the one, but in the words of Bill Mazeroski, "They have to go from kids to baseball players. But trust me, in two to three years, they'll get theirs. Believe it."
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