Over the last 3 days, the Pittsburgh Pirates (23-24) treated their fans to three of the most interesting games PNC Park has seen this season.
The Pirates opened their series on Friday with the Chicago Cubs (15-32) by winning an A.J. Burnett slash bullpen combined gem 1-0.
Burnett went 5.1 innings in that one, striking out six batters along the way. Jared Hughes, Jason Grilli, Juan Cruz and Joel Hanrahan then combined to throw 3.2 shutout innings and seal the deal for the Baby Bears’ 10th straight loss.
On Saturday, Joel Hanrahan recorded the win for Pittsburgh. Any time that happens, you can be assured something weird took place at some point in the game.
Cubs reliever Rafael Dolis took the mound for the bottom of the ninth, and promptly gave up a single to Jose Tabata and walked Josh Harrison. Andrew McCutchen struck out swinging before Alvarez flew out to center on a hard hit ball. Neil Walker then drew a walk on five pitches, bringing up Matt Hague with the bases loaded and two outs.
After working the count to 2-2, Hague took a pitch to the back to force Tabata home and give the Pirates a 3-2 victory by way of a walk-off HBP.
Sunday afternoon brought us an even better if not more dramatic game, as Pirates fans were treated to something of an offensive explosion.
The Pirates put up three runs in first inning, added one in the fifth and then tacked on six more during the sixth inning.
The sweep of the Cubs put the Pirates a game under the .500 mark and four back of the NL Central lead. It also meant the Cubs had lost 12 consecutive games.
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