The Pittsburgh Pirates came back home to PNC Park on Tuesday to play the Milwaukee Brewers and hoped to get some home cooked wins, but fell short. On Wednesday, the Pirates made a deal to bring New York Mets outfielder Marlon Byrd and catcher John Buck to help the team for this playoff push. The Pirates were hoping that this deal would spark a struggling team’s offensive needs and they could not have been more right.
The Pirates brought Byrd in to be the RBI man they needed against left-handed pitching. Byrd’s stats against left-handers going into the game were mind blowing: A .345 batting average with seven home runs and an OPS of .980. Tonight, as fate would have it, the first pitcher Byrd would face with his new team would be former Pirates pitcher Tom Gorzelanny.
The Pirates seemed to feed off of this new excitement around the team. Players who have been cold for a bit started to show signs of brilliance with the bat. Josh Harrison went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. First basemen Gaby Sanchez had a three hit night and short stop Jordy Mercer had two hits and an RBI. Of course, Andrew McCutchen was his MVP-like self with two hits and an RBI. The bats woke up this series for sure.
However, the shot heard around the rivers in Pittsburgh was provided by Byrd. In his third at bat, Byrd hit a three-run homer which showed why that Pirates wanted him in the first place (why this trade did not happen at the end of July is beyond me).
The team effort also included a strong outing for the Pirates pitcher “good stuff” Charlie Morton. Morton had a shut out going into the seventh and only lost it because of a throwing error by catcher Russell Martin. Morton’s numbers were what the doctor ordered for Pittsburgh: 6 2/3 innings, no earned runs, two strikeouts, four hits and four free passes (with one being a hit batsman). The biggest thing Morton did was let his team help him get the outs. Out of the 20 outs needed while he was in the game, 11 of them were the result of a ground ball. This was truly the team win that the Pirates needed to keep close with the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central Division.