Last night in Cincinnati, OH, the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Cincinnati Reds to end a six game losing streak. While it was hardly a moment with the drama of Bill Mazeroski's Game 7 World Series winning home run against the New York Yankees, it was encouraging.
While some Pirate fans may be tired of "encouraging," this game had everything you would want from the Buccos. The only problem is you would like to see it more than once a week.
Starting Pitcher Charlie Morton tossed a five-hit shutout. In his nine innings, he threw an efficient 106 pitches. Morton has been the Pirates' greatest reclamation project to date. Morton raised his record to 5-1 to go along with an ERA of 2.62 and a WHIP of 1.31. This is a marked improvement from last season, when Morton was forced to the DL with apparent physical and mental fatigue and an ERA over 7.00.
Another reason to be excited about last night's win is the clutch three-run HR by 3B Pedro Alvarez in the fourth inning off of Cincy starter and former Pirate, Bronson Arroyo. Alvarez has struggled mightily at the plate this season, and a potential demotion to AAA Indianapolis is rumored.
Obviously, one at-bat does not turn his season around. With any luck, this can be a turning point. Alvarez turned on a hanging pitch and cranked it over the right field fence like he did many times late last season. A return to form by Alvarez would be a great boost for the team's hitting.
Other highlights included a seventh inning HR by CF Andrew McCutchen and 2B Neil Walker wearing some type of clear fielding glasses. Not sure if that was a tribute to former Reds 3B Chris Sabo, but I don't recall Walker wearing them before.
Again, with it only being one game out of 162, there certainly is not any reason to put a deposit down on Pirate playoff tickets. With that being said, it was good to see the Buccos hang with and defeat the 2010 Division winning and current Division leading Cincinnati Reds.