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Pittsburgh Pirates: The 9 Games

MONDAY, SEPT. 30, 2013

Turning points: W

elcome to this special publication dedicated to the success of the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates. For the first time in 20 years, the


Nine games that defined the 2013 Pirates

Pirates have not only a winning season, but is also a postseason playoff contender. This publication is packed full of information about the team’s journey

and includes the nine games that helped secure a winning season. We hope you enjoy reading, and as always, let’s go Bucs!

A Q&A with Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage

Ray Searage

THE 2013 PIRATES Pitchers

No. 34 45 58 25 30 39 48 60 47 49 32 35 29 50 38 44 37

A.J. Burnett Gerrit Cole Brandon Cumpton Kyle Farnsworth Jeanmar Gomez Jason Grilli Jared Hughes Kris Johnson Francisco Liriano Jeff Locke Vin Mazzaro Mark Melancon Bryan Morris Charlie Morton Stolmy Pimentel Tony Watson Justin Wilson


No. 14 55 59

John Buck Russell Martin Tony Sanchez


No. 24 12 5 46 10 66 17 18

Pedro Alvarez Clint Barmes Josh Harrison Garrett Jones Jordy Mercer Justin Morneau Gaby Sanchez Neil Walker


No. 2 Marlon Byrd 57 Andrew Lambo 6 Starling Marte 22 Andrew McCutchen 26 Felix Pie 23 Travis Snider 31 Jose Tabata

Bats/Throws Date of Birth Right/Right Jan 3, 1977 Right/Right Sep 8, 1990 Right/Right Nov 16, 1988 Right/Right Apr 14, 1976 Right/Right Feb 10, 1988 Right/Right Nov 11, 1976 Right/Right Jul 4, 1985 Left/Left Oct 14, 1984 Left/Left Oct 26, 1983 Left/Left Nov. 20, 1987 Right/Right Sept. 27, 1986 Right/Right March 28, 1985 Left/Right March 28, 1987 Right/Right Nov. 12, 1983 Right/Right Feb. 1, 1990 Left/Left May 30, 1985 Left/Left Aug. 18, 1987 Bats/Throws Right/Right Right/Right Right/Right

Date of Birth July 7, 1980 Feb. 15, 1983 May 20, 1988

Bats/Throws Left/Right Right/Right Right/Right Left/Left Right/Right Left/Right Right/Right Switch/Right

Date of Birth Feb. 6, 1987 March 6, 1979 July 8, 1987 June 21, 1981 Aug. 27, 1986 May 15, 1981 Sept. 2, 1983 Sept. 10, 1985

Bats/Throws Right/Right Left/Left Right/Right Right/Right Left/Left Left/Left Right/Right

Date of Birth Aug. 30, 1977 Aug. 11, 1988 Oct. 9, 1988 Oct. 10, 1986 Feb. 8, 1985 Feb. 2, 1988 Aug. 12, 1988

Editorás note: In a season filled with surprises, the Pirates pitching stands alone at the top of the list. From a solid core of starters to a bullpen that was the best in baseball throughout the year, solid, consistent pitching has been a hallmark of the teamás resurgence. Ray Searage, the man responsible for the pitching staffás development, talks about his role and how the staff has come together as the Pirates head into the postseason. ö The starting pitching has remained consistent throughout the 2013 season. Whatás been different this year as opposed to the past couple years? Searage: Weáve got starters out there with experience, that know when to go change their game plans, and are able to make adjustments during the course of the game. Our catchers play a big part in that. The communication between our starters and our catchers (has) been extremely good as to whatás working and whatás not working today, and we go from there. ö The startersá overall performance has been very consistent, but the faces have changed through the

season. As a pitching coach, what challenges do you face trying to hold things together when youáve had a dozen guys start games this year? Searage: You know, you take that game — that one game that one day — and whoeverás starting it, you go over the game plan, you try to help them become the best pitcher that they can be by using their stuff, and go to their strengths, and you put the pieces together. You connect the dots out there, and you let them have it, and the catcher plays an integral role in that. Itás really a good thing to do, that weáre all pulling in the same direction. ö The bullpen has exceeded just about everyoneás expectations this year. To what do you attribute that success? Searage: These guys have matured greatly during the course of the year. They know what theyáre all about, they know what their stuff is. They know what their jobs are, and it makes it a lot easier to prepare for the day when you know what time of the game that youáll be coming in, what the score might be, and then you know what hitters youáre going to be facing. Preparation, and

knowing a little bit about the unknown, helps you perform a little bit better. ö A lot of guys have looked like the staffás ace at various points this year, but Francisco Liriano obviously seems to have been your most consistent stopper this year. What has his presence meant for this club? Searage: Outstanding. Heás a quiet leader. He goes out and leads by actions. Heás not a rah-rah, boomboom guy on the bench here. Heás very smart, heás very well-grounded. Heás got a good idea on what his abilities are, and he does his homework on the opposing team. He goes out there and he competes, and heáll try to figure out how to beat you, one way or the other. ö What has it been like to work with Gerrit Cole, and the tremendous amount of raw talent he possesses? Searage: Itás like holding onto a tornado, you know, trying to ride it. He is a young kid with, God bless him, some great talent. Now all we have to do is try to funnel that and get it going to where itás going to be more beneficial to him. Earlier on, the breaking pitches, the offspeed pitches,

were not quite there yet. He worked tirelessly in the bullpen to make sure that they got consistent, and before you know it, we started seeing the benefits of that. Right now, heás still going to go through his growing pains in the Major Leagues, but you know, heás got a better idea that he can adjust, absorb, and make the adjustment for the next start. ö Last question: what has it been like for you personally, being a part of bringing winning baseball back to Pittsburgh? Searage: You know, Iáve said this many times before, Iám just a lucky man right now, to be in the position that I am. Iáve been with the Pirates for 12 years, and to watch it turn around and being a part of it — in it — itás priceless. I donát mean to coin a phrase, but you canát put a price tag on it. The kids — I call them kids, because Iám an old man — but these men that go out there and perform and compete, itás just tremendous, and itás really nice to see the personalities, how they all get together and they all pull in the same direction. So for me, I hit the lottery.

NOTES: The Pirates will host Cincinnati for a wild-card playoff game Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 8:07 p.m. It’s the first playoff game at PNC Park. The game will be broadcast on TBS and on radio. ... The wild-card matchup features right-hander Johnny Cueto (5-2), who is 8-2 career at PNC Park, against left-hander Francisco Liriano (16-8), who is 0-3 in four starts against Cincinnati this season. ... The Pirates and Reds have met five times in the playoffs: 1970, 1972, 1975, 1979 and 1990, when the Reds won their last World Series title. ... If victorious Tuesday, the Pirates will face the Cardinals for the division playoff. Acknowledgement: This special edition celebrating the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates is made possible through the support of our advertisers. Thanks go out to the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times advertising, graphics and production departments and to our sister Ogden Newspaper publications. Front cover design by Eddie Kokosinski. Layout and design by Michael D. McElwain. Be sure to view the online version of this publication on our websites.


Pittsburgh Pirates: The 9 Games

MONDAY, SEPT. 30, 2013

Francisco Liriano makes his Pirates debut NEW YORK — Francisco Liriano turned out to be the ace of Pittsburghås pitching staff in 2013, something that became evident with his Pirates debut on May 11 against the New York Mets. Liriano struck out nine batters over 5 1/3 innings and the Pirates teed off on New Yorkås pitching for an 11-2 win against the Mets. âHeås pitched before and heås been good,ã Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. âGood to have him in the fold now, for me itås ä three left-handers in the rotation, I like that a lot. Especially in the division weåre in, the way we match up against the teams.ã Jordy Mercer homered twice and Jose Tabata had four hits, including a two-run shot

for the Pirates. The Mets have struggled to score at home, but the start by Jonathon Niese would have put any team in a hole. He tied a career high by allowing eight runs, and walked more batters than he struck out for the fourth time in eight starts this season. Liriano, returning from a broken non-throwing arm, allowed one run in 5 1/3 innings and 90 pitches. He gave up six hits and two walks. âToday went good. Really good location and just using a lot today,ã Liriano said. âIt was a little weird, nervous. But that went away and it just feels good to get the first one out of the way.ã After a late-spring injury to Jeff Karstens and the release of Jonathan Sanchez, the Pirates needed the help in their rotation. âYou can probably count the teams on one hand that have really good offensive splits more so against left-handed pitchers than against right-handed pitching,ã Hurdle said. The Pirates jumped on Niese early, and finally drove him out of the game in the fifth. Mercer hit a solo shot after third baseman David Wright made a nifty barehanded play to throw out Starling Marte, and Tabata hit an RBI double off the base of the wall in center field. Michael McKenry followed with a two-run single off reliever Scott Atchison and Clint Barmes followed with an RBI single before Liriano popped foul to end the inning. Liriano agreed to a contract with Pittsburgh in the offseason, but broke his right arm on Dec. 25, the day before he was supposed to fly to Pittsburgh and sign a $12.75 million, two-year contract. Liriano, who said he was injured when he slapped a door in his house, signed a revised offer and prepared for a delayed start to the season.


MAY 11, 2013

Pittsburgh 11, Mets 2 Win No. 20

Turning point: After coming off the disabled list, free agent acquisition Francisco Liriano, in his Pirates debut, shut down the Mets over 5 1/3 innings with nine strikeouts. He gave up six hits and two walks in a performance that showed Bucco fans that he was out to become the staff ace for 2013.

And Liriano delivered. He set the first seven batters down in order, and the Mets didnåt get anyone to third base until the sixth inning, when Justin Turner singled with Wright on first and one out. Marlon Byrd, now a Pirate following his late season trade, hit a tough dribbler down the third base line that Brandon Inge charged, but he mishandled the transfer to his throwing hand on a play that was ruled a single. The Mets put two runners on in the fourth inning after Byrdås two-out single. But Liriano struck out Andrew Brown. He fanned Daniel Murphy to end the fifth after Tejadaås double. Barmes hit an RBI single in the second inning and Tabata hit a two-run homer in the third, after Andrew McCutchenås RBI single. âFor our guys to swing the bats today the way they did in a big ballpark, I think that was a feel good for the offensive side of our game,ã Hurdle said. In the bottom of the seventh, reliever Bryan Morris hit pinch-hitter Jordany Valdespin with his first pitch. The night before, Valdespin hit a long home run and took plenty of time time admiring its trajectory. When he returned to the dugout after the inning, he threw his helmet in the corner and tore off his batting gloves while no one acknowledged him. Over on the Pittsburgh side, Morris received fist bumps from manager Clint Hurdle and many of his teammates.









MONDAY, SEPT. 30, 2013

Pittsburgh Pirates: The 9 Games


Bucs put end to woes against the Brewers Beating the teams youáre supposed to beat is one of the hallmarks of a winning baseball club. This seasonás struggling Milwaukee Brewers certainly fell into that category for the up-and-coming Pirates. But with a dismal record against the Brewers over the past several seasons, and having lost three of their first four games against them in 2013, the Piratesá ability to take care of business against lesser competition remained an enormous question mark heading into the teamsá May 14 matchup at PNC Park. With the score deadlocked at 3-3 in the 12th inning, a towering, oppositefield shot to right center field off the bat of the teamás unquestioned leader, Andrew McCutchen, turned that question mark into an exclamation point. Things got off to a rough start when the second batter of the game, Brewers shortstop Jean Segura, drilled a Jeff Locke pitch into the left field bleachers for a solo home run, getting the Brewers out to an early lead. The Pirates would go on to tie the game in the bottom half of the frame on a run-scoring ground out. After each surrendered runs in the first, both Locke and Brewers starter Kyle Lohse settled in, but Milwaukee would break the tie in the bottom of the fourth, scoring a single run on a pair of doubles by Ryan Braun and Carlos Gomez. The Brewers would add on the following inning, plating Norichika Aoki on a Segura groundout, after the speedy leadoff hitter had reached on an infield single and advanced to third on two Locke wild pitches. The Pirates tied the game with single runs in the sixth and eighth innings, the latter coming on a sharply hit double down the left field line off the bat of catcher Russell

Martin. After Jason Grilli struck out the side in the top of the ninth, the Bucs wasted an opportunity to walk off in the bottom half of the frame when Garrett Jones grounded into an inning-ending double play with two runners on base. Leading off the 12th inning, McCutchen — hitless in his first six plate appearances — seized his chance to make a statement against the Piratesá nemesis, connecting on a 2-2 offering from reliever Mike Fiers that landed in the second row of the right center field seating area. McCutchen sprinted out of the box upon contact and quickly made his way around the bases, raising his right fist in the air between first and second base. âAfter the other two balls I hit, I wasnát taking anything for granted,ã he said. âI didnát know if it was going to go out or not when I hit it, so I just started running. Once I saw it was a home run, I just kept running.ã McCutchen hit a drive to deep

center field in the first inning with two runners on base that center fielder Carlos Gomez caught just in front of the fence. In the seventh, right fielder Norichika Aoki hauled in McCutchenás drive to the 375-foot sign in right-center field. âI thought both of them were gone but I guess itás the cool weather keeping the balls in the park,ã McCutchen said. âItás been a cool spring and the ball doesnát seem to be carrying anywhere. Summer is just around the corner so hopefully the weather will warm up and balls will start flying pretty soon.ã As he approached his teammates waiting to mob him at home plate, McCutchen tossed his helmet and raised his arms skyward. The Pirates and Brewers would square off 14 more times, but there was a sense that things might be different this year. Indeed, the dramatic win proved to

MAY 14, 2013

Pittsburgh 4, Milwaukee 3 Win No. 22

Turning point: Andrew McCutchen caps a Pirates comeback with a 12th inning, opposite field home run.

be the turning point for the Pirates in the season series with the Brewers, as the Bucs would go on to win a total of 12 out of 19 meetings with Milwaukee. On a side note, the May 14 game also featured one of the seasonás more bizarre moments: In the top of the 11th inning, home plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth was forced to leave the game when the Brewersá Yuniesky Betancourt fouled off a pitch that lodged between Culbrethás mask and left shoulder, injuring his collarbone. He returned the following game to umpire at third base.

Home: 304-737-0058 Cell: 304-374-9159 Fax: 304-737-3278



Pittsburgh Pirates: The 9 Games

MONDAY, SEPT. 30, 2013

Gerrit Cole puts on the Buccos uniform When the Pittsburgh Pirates made flamethrowing righty Gerrit Cole the first overall pick in the 2011 draft, they firmly believed they had selected a future staff ace that would anchor their rotation for years to come. The future arrived on a warm Tuesday night in June that the more than 30,000 fans in attendance wonát soon forget. Pressed into service after veteran left-hander Wandy Rodriguez left his June 5 start against the Atlanta Braves with a forearm injury that ultimately would sideline him for the rest of the season, Cole came to Pittsburgh just looking to hold down

the fort in a rotation that was quickly emerging as one of baseballás best. He delivered that and more when he took the hill against the San Francisco Giants and former Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum on June 11, delivering 6 1/3 strong innings before a crowd of more than 30,000 that turned out to witness Coleás Major League debut at PNC Park. When the gates opened, fans made a beeline for the best spots

overlooking the bullpen, many standing in place for more than an hour to catch their first glimpse of Cole in a Pirates uniform. You couldnát have scripted a better opening as Cole blew leadoff hitter Gregor Blanco away with t h r e e fastballs in the high 90s to chalk up his first big league strikeout. He looked dominant at times and vulnerable at others, but showed fortitude in pitching out of some early jams, stranding five runners on base over the first two innings without surrendering a run. The fresh-faced rookie could do no wrong. Even a routine lineout to center field in the sixth inning — albeit relative-

ly hard hit — drew a standing ovation. A player never knows what to expect when he makes his Major League debut — and itás probably safe to assume Cole didnát anticipate finishing the night with as many runs batted in as strikeouts. Cole came to the plate to face Lincecum in his first big-league at bat with the bases loaded in the second inning. After working the count full, Cole smacked a high pitch over the inner half of the plate the other way that found grass between the center fielder Blanco and right fielder Hunter Pence. The single plated two runs, and Cole couldnát help but flash a grin as the crowd once again showed its appreciation. The Pirates bats came alive in support of their newest teammate. Pedro

J U N E 11, 2 013

Pittsburgh 8, San Francisco 2 Win No. 38

Turning point: With the bases loaded in the bottom of the second, Gerrit Cole singles to right center field off the Giants’ Tim Lincecum, plating two runs to put the Pirates up 3-0.

Alvarez drove in three runs on three hits, including a mammoth two-run shot in the seventh. Starling Marte also homered, and Andrew McCutchen, Garrett Jones and Neil Walker each collected RBIs as the Bucs scored eight runs to back Coleás strong outing. After hitting Gregor Blanco with a pitch to load the bases with two outs in the second, Cole proceeded to retire the next 13 batters he faced, a streak that ended when Andres Torres singled to right to lead off the seventh inning. A single and

a fielderás choice put runners at first and third for pinch-hitter Tony Abreu, who chased Cole from the game with a run-scoring double down the right field line that made the score 5-1. Reliever Tony Watson surrendered a run that was charged to Cole, who finished the night giving up two runs on seven hits, walking none and striking out two in his 6 1/3 innings, more than good enough for his first Major League win. He would go on to win his first four starts, the first Pirate in 106 years to do so.


The 9 Games

SEPT. 30, 2013

Martin shows power As Gaby Sanchez âtruckedã around third some 6 1/2 hours after Pittsburghás June 30 matchup against Milwaukee began, one thought went through his head. âáThis is enough,áã the 216-pound first baseman said after the game. âáIám tired. Itás been a long day.áã Then Sanchez laughed. The Pittsburgh Pirates have been doing an awful lot of that lately. Pinch-hitter Russell Martin singled home Sanchez for the winning run in the 14th inning and the Pirates earned their ninth straight victory, defeating the Milwaukee Brewers 2-1. The Pirates extended their longest winning streak since 2004, when they took 10 in a row. Pittsburgh reached the midpoint of its season with the best record in the majors at 51-30. âItás fun right now,ã said Martin, who played a key role in an extra-inning victory he did not start for the second straight Sunday. âObviously, winning is fun, but just being on a team with a bunch of guys who play with their hearts out there and enjoy the game, itás definitely been a pleasure.ã Teammates were having fun with Sanchez, a slugger not known for his speed.

J U NE 3 0 , 2 0 1 3

Pittsburgh 2, Milwaukee 1 Win No. 51

Turning point: Gaby Sanchez, not the fastest Pittsburgh Pirate, led off the 14th with an infield single. With one out, he stole second for his first steal in more than a year. After a walk, Russell Martin hit a soft liner to center off Francisco Rodriguez. Sanchez chugged around third and beat the throw home. This followed 11 scoreless innings by the Pirates’ bullpen.

Sanchez led off the 14th with an infield single. With one out, he stole second for his first steal in more than a year. After a walk, Martin hit a soft liner to center. Sanchez chugged around third and slid home ahead of the throw by Carlos Gomez. âI guess he felt fresh today for some reason,ã Martin said with a wry smile. âWeáre just grinding; heás out there grinding and made it happen and I think everybody is enjoying it.ã Pirates manager Clint Hurdle gave the sign for Sanchez to make an attempt for his first stolen base as a Pirate and first overall since May 6, 2012. âOnce it gets late like that, youáve got to take some chances,ã Hurdle said. âGabyás always heads-up.ã Sanchez validated the efforts of Pittsburghás stingy bullpen, one that refers to itself as âThe Shark Tank.ã Vin Mazzaro pitched five perfect innings. He was among six Pirates relievers who combined for 11 scoreless innings after Charlie Morton was pulled following a rain delay of 2 hours, 20 minutes. Justin Wilson, Bryan Morris, Jason Grilli and Mark Melancon each pitched a scoreless inning following Mazzaro ä allowing a total of two hits and no walks. Tony Watson (2-1) struck out four in three hitless innings. âA truly incredible job from everybody out there,ã Hurdle said. âIt feels like they all throw 110 mph, and theyáve all got good stuff,ã Brewers outfielder Logan Schafer said. âThey know what theyáre doing. They locate their pitches for the most part and they get ahead early in the count. Those guys are very good.ã Andrew McCutchen hit a tying single in the Pittsburgh eighth.

SEPT. 30, 2013

The 9 Games


Pirates get a key sweep After a euphoric doubleheader sweep of reeling St. Louis on July 30 that propelled them to the top of the division, the Pittsburgh Pirates were ready to get greedy. âWe want more,ã manager Clint Hurdle said. Keep pitching like this, and that shouldnát be a problem. Alex Presley hit a game-ending single with two outs in the 11th inning, lifting the Pirates to a 2-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in the opener July 30. Presley hit a sharp bouncer that deflected off the glove of pitcher Kevin Siegrist and away from shortstop Pete Kozma, who was moving toward second base. Kozma could not recover and the ball rolled into the outfield, allowing Russell Martin to sprint all the way home from second base. Pirates starter A.J. Burnett pitched seven emotionally charged innings, giving up one run on three hits, striking out nine and walking three. Though it was just his second victory since May 3, Burnettás performance set the tone and the bullpen followed his lead. âItás a battle, itás fun,ã Burnett said. âLetás roll

JULY 30, 2013

Pittsburgh 2, St. Louis 1 Win No. 63 Pittsburgh 6, St. Louis 0 Win No. 64

Turning point: In the opener, it took an 11th inning single by Alex Presley to give the Pirates a 2-1 victory on a strong start by A.J. Burnett. In the nightcap, Brandon Cumpton picked up his first Major League victory by shutting out the Cardinals 6-0 over seven strong innings.

from here. Letás keep going.ã Vin Mazzaro (6-2) picked up the victory after retiring three of the four batters he faced in the 11th. Despite leading the National League in runs and batting average, the Cardinals went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position in the opener. âWe had some hard-hit balls with runners in scoring position,ã Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. âIt just didnát work out.ã The Pirates survived by doing what theyáve done for most of the first four months of the season, riding another stellar effort from baseballás top pitching staff and getting just enough hitting to win. Presleyás slapper capped a 3-hour, 52minute marathon that had all the makings of playoff baseball. A packed PNC Park — on a Tuesday

afternoon, no less — buzzed as Burnett and Lynn matched each other for the better part of two hours. Burnett received a bit of help with two on and one out in the first when center fielder Andrew McCutchen made a diving grab of a sinking liner by Carlos Beltran. The Gold Glover then hopped to his feet and alertly doubled up Holliday. Three hours after Alex Presleyás grounder caromed off Siegristás glove in the opener, the Pirates breezed to a 6-0 victory in the second game behind rookie starter Brandon Cumpton. Working with usual Triple-A battery mate Tony Sanchez ä making his major league debut ä Cumpton scattered three hits over seven innings to extend the CarSee SWEEP Page 10 ➪

The 9 Games


SEPT. 30, 2013

Sweep dinalsá losing streak to a season-high six games. âPitching inside has been my thing all year,ã Cumpton said. âI didnát want to get away from it. I wanted to force the issue.ã All it did was compound the issues for St. Louis, which has scored all of five runs in the last 56 innings. Even worse, catcher Yadier Molina is likely headed to the disabled list after leaving in the top of the fourth inning of the second game with a sprained right knee. The sweep pushed Pittsburgh to a seasonhigh 22 games over .500. Cardinals starter Tyler Lyons gave up four runs, three earned, in six

innings. He struck out five and walked one but received no help from a reeling offense and some sloppy play in the field. On the heels of Presleyás game-winner, the fortuitous bounces kept on coming for the Pirates, who took a 1-0 lead in the second when a rare passed ball by Molina let Jose Tabata sprint across the plate. Molina was done for the night in the top of the fourth when the right knee pain heás been battling for the better part of a month flared up again. He was replaced by Rob Johnson. The absence of their leader further weakened the Cardinals, and things quickly fell apart. While Cumpton kept the NLás

Continued from Page 9 top offense in check, Pittsburgh poured it on with a little help from St. Louis left fielder Matt Holliday. The Pirates took a 2-0 lead on Jordy Mercerás RBI single before McCutchen stepped in. He drilled Lyonsá pitch deep to left but Holliday appeared ready to track it down at the wall. Instead, the ball popped off the heel of Hollidayás glove and into the stands. Cumpton needed just 87 pitches to get 21 outs. He received a loud ovation as he headed to the dugout, the latest in a series of unheralded Pirates pitchers to rise from obscurity and help propel the franchise into the midst of a pennant race.

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For more information call Kathy 304-527-3378 or Bill 304-527-0177

MONDAY, SEPT. 30, 2013

Pittsburgh Pirates: The 9 Games


Harrison gets a big walk-off homer For Josh Harrison, it didnát get any better than his walk-off home run on Aug. 6 to give the Pittsburgh Pirates a 4-3 win over the Miami Marlins. What made the hit even more interesting is that the last time Harrison hit a walk-off homer, he was a high school senior in Cincinnati. The game was played in front of a few dozen people on a spring afternoon. Still the only homer of his prep career remains ingrained in Harrisonás memory. Now itás got company. The Pittsburgh Pirates utility infielder sent a fastball from Miami reliever Mike Dunn into the first row of seats in right-center leading off the ninth, the improbable homer lifting the Pirates to a 4-3 victory. âI knew it had a chance,ã Harrison said after his second home run of the season. âI knew it wasnát caught off the bat. I was running, watching (Giancarlo) Stantonás reaction. I knew he wasnát going to catch it. I saw him pull up and it didnát kick back, I knew it was gone.ã Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle sent Harrison out to leadoff the inning modestly hoping Harrison could find a way to get on base. Instead, Harrison provided another signature moment in a season full of memories for the Pirates. A marvelous diving grab by centerfielder Andrew McCutchen with two on in the seventh saved two runs and reliever Vin Mazzaro narrowly escaped a bases-loaded jam moments later when a liner from Jeff Mathis landed inches foul. Mathis eventually flied to left on a night Miami left 11 runners on base. Minutes later Harrison was getting the creampie to the face treatment. âThose are little things that happen that make you go àYeah, somethingás going on,áã Hurdle said. âThereás no doubt the more feel good you get, the more you feel good.ã The win moved the Pirates to 68-44 at the time, 24 games over 500. Dunn bailed Chad Qualls after Qualls loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth. He struck out Pedro Alvarez and got Russell Martin to hit

into a double play but couldnát get the best of Harrison, a bench player who has spent most of the season shuttling between Pittsburgh and TripleA Indianapolis. âInitially, I didnát think it was high enough to go out but it carried and it was a home run,ã Dunn said. âIt was a good job on his part.ã Bryan Morris pitched a perfect top of the ninth for the victory. Neil Walker had three hits for the Pirates. McCutchen had two hits, including a two-run double, for Pittsburgh. Pittsburghás Jeff Locke provided a solid start, even though things started a bit shaky. Miami turned three singles ä none of them sharply hit ä into a run in the second then added two more in the third behind four straight singles to start the inning. The Marlins, however, couldnát pile on and Locke eventually settled down. The lefthander allowed three runs on nine hits in 5 2-3 innings, walking three and striking out four. âThere are lessons to be learned for him,ã Hurdle said of Locke. âHeás always got to be the predator and the aggressor. Weáre into August. Weáre into September. Everybody that gets that ball, youáve got to be throwing aggressive punches off the mound with intent and conviction.ã Locke left two runners on in the sixth. He also left with a no decision as Mazzaro retired Ed Lucas with two runners on to end the inning. Henderson Alvarez handcuffed the Pirates in their previous meeting, limiting Pittsburgh to just two hits in six innings of a victory two weeks ago. The Pirates, however, briefly figured him out in the third. McCutchen doubled off the wall to drive in two runs and Pedro Alvarez followed with his first triple of the year to tie it. The Pirates never threatened against the Miami starter again, and Alvarez left after seven innings, giving up three runs on six hits, striking out six while not issuing a walk. That left it up to the bullpens and Pittsburghás âShark Tankã continued its dominance. Mazzaro survived the seventh and the Marlins went meekly in the eighth and ninth before Harri-

son stepped to the plate. âIáve never been around a group of guys that fights this hard the entire game,ã Locke said. âWe load the bases in the eighth and Pedro comes up and we donát score and you see who comes up with nobody on and walks off. Itás funny how the game works like that.ã

A U G . 6, 2 0 1 3

Pittsburgh 4, Miami 3 Win No. 68

Turning point: Josh Harrison hits a walk-off homer — his first since high school — over the right-center field wall in the bottom of the ninth at PNC Park to give the Pirates the win over the Marlins. Centerfielder Andrew McCutchen also made a diving grab with two on in the seventh to save two runs.

Pittsburgh Pirates: The 9 Games


MONDAY, SEPT. 30, 2013

Francisco Liriano halts four-game slide In need of a win following arguably their toughest loss of the season, the Pirates on Aug. 14 turned to Francisco Liriano, their ace who was looking for a bounce-back performance of his own when he took the hill in St. Louis. The previous night, with the game seemingly well in hand, left fielder Starling Marte dropped a routine fly ball with one out in the ninth that opened the door for Allen Craigás game-tying single, resulting in Mark Melanconás first blown save of the season. The Cardinals finally broke through in the 14th, walking off on Adron

Chambersá single off Jared Hughes. On a more personal level, Liriano was trying to shake off his previous start — his worst of the season, in which he allowed 10 earned runs in just 2 1/3 innings of work. He answered the challenge by delivering one of his strongest outings of the year, tossing a complete-game, fourhit gem that keyed a 5-1 Pirates victory over the Cardinals, putting to an end a four-game losing streak. âWhat weáve seen all year, heás just given us chances to win. Heás pitched deep into games, heás mixed pitches, heás

really been in command when runners get on base,ã Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. After both Liriano and his mound opponent, Shelby Miller, cruised through one-two-three first innings, the Pirates offense went to work in the top of the second. Pedro Alvarez homered to lead off the inning, and Garrett Jones followed two batters later with a shot over the right field fence to put the Bucs up 2-0. Marte and Tony Sanchez added run-scoring singles in a three-run fourth. Liriano frustrated the Cardinal bats all night, retiring 12 of 13 batters during one stretch from


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the second through the sixth innings. His swingand-miss stuff wasnát what itás been at other points during the year, but he worked efficiently, needing only 94 pitches to go the distance. âYou can say the guy was on it,ã the Cardinalsá Matt Carpenter said. âItás one thing to come in here and say we lost the game because we didnát play well or we had a ton of pitches to hit and we didnát do our job. âThis guy was nasty.ã The defense backed up Lirianoás sharp pitching throughout the night, three times erasing leadoff baserunners via the double play. The only blemish on the lefthanderás s t e l la r

AU G . 14 , 2 0 1 3

Pittsburgh 5, St. Louis 1 Win No. 71

Turning point: Starting pitcher Francisco Liriano throws a gem at St. Louis, besting the Cardinals. The Pirates’ defense erased three Cardinals leadoff baserunners en route to Liriano’s four-hit complete game victory.

night came in the ninth, with the Pirates holding a comfortable 5-0 lead. A Carlos Beltran groundout scored Matt Carpenter, who had doubled with one out and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Liriano retired Craig to end the game, putting the finishing touch on his second complete game of the season and the third of his career. He scattered four hits, striking out six and walking only one as he faced just three batters

over the minimum. The strong all-around performance stretched the Piratesá lead in the NL Central back to three games, after the Cardinals shaved it down from a season high four games. âIt was important because every game counts, especially after last night,ã Liriano said. âIt was a tough game last night and we had to put that one behind us and come ready to play.ã

SEPT. 30, 2013

The 9 Games


Pirates win pitching duel In a pitcherás duel that lived up to its billing, Pirates rookie Gerrit Cole outlasted Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish to earn a victory that meant a lot more to Pittsburgh fans than it did to the men in the clubhouse who had just earned it. Coleás seven shutout innings against Texas on Sept. 9 helped end a fourgame losing streak that included a sweep at division rival St. Louis, and set the tone for a road series sweep against the Rangers. It also represented elusive win number 82, ensuring the Piratesá first winning season since 1992. Following the game, the team acknowledged the feat but made it clear No. 82 was a stepping stone, not the destination. âItás going to touch a lot of people on a lot of different levels,ã Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. âWe are aware of it. Everybodyás here for a reason, and thatás to knock down things we havenát done in a long time.ã Cole — who was 2 years old when the Pirates last made the postseason — also kept things in perspective after arguably the strongest outing of his young career. âWe donát really understand what the fans have been through. I know it definitely puts a smile on their face when they see that No. 82 up there,ã Cole said. âWeáre extremely happy to be able to make them feel like weáve got a winning team out there. But weáve got a few weeks ahead and those are going to be some real big games.ã The game moved

SEPT. 9, 2013

Pittsburgh 1, Texas 0 Win No. 82

Turning point: Following two consecutive walks and a double steal attempt, Pirates starter Gerrit Cole preserves a scoreless tie in the sixth inning by getting Adrian Beltre to ground out. Pedro Alvarez would drive in the game’s only run the following inning with a twoout RBI double. The win marked Cole’s best start to date.

Pittsburgh to within a game of the Cardinals, who had seized the division lead by virtue of their three game sweep of the Pirates. Cole and Darvish matched each other practically pitch-for-pitch through the early part of the night. The gameás first five innings saw just one man from either club reach second base — Rangers catcher Geovany Soto, who singled and advanced on a Cole wild pitch in the second. The only hint of trouble for Cole came in the sixth, when he issued back-to-back walks to Elvis Andrus and Alex Rios after getting two quick outs. A successful double steal put both men in scoring position, but Adrian Beltre grounded out to short to end the threat. In the seventh, Darvish also recorded two quick outs before Marlon Byrd doubled to left, giving the Pirates their first runner in scoring position. Pedro Alvarez cashed in the opportunity with a line drive double of his own to center field.

It was the only time the Pirates would threaten all evening until Andrew McCutchenás one-out triple in the ninth. He would be thrown out at the plate as he tried to score on Justin Morneauás subsequent ground ball to second. But Bucs relievers Tony Watson and Mark Melancon made the single run stand up. Cole gave up just three hits, walking two and striking out a then-career high nine Rangers in seven innings of work. Despite throwing just 81 pitches, Darvish was lifted after s e v e n innings due to leg cramps.


Pittsburgh Pirates: The 9 Games

MONDAY, SEPT. 30, 2013

Pirates head to the postseason with big win The Pittsburgh Piratesá 21year hiatus from the playoffs ended Sept. 23 just as it began: with a play at home plate. Russell Martinás tag on a play at the plate with two outs in the bottom of the ninth marked win No. 90 for the Pirates, a 2-1 thriller over the Chicago Cubs, and also clinched the teamás first postseason berth since 1992. That season ended when Sid Bream beat out a throw home from Barry Bonds in the bottom of the ninth in game seven of the National League Championship Series to claim the pennant for the Atlanta Braves. âEven though I didnát lose for the last 20 years, they make you feel like you are. You feel like you lost those 20 years,ã Andrew McCutchen said. âThatás all you hear. You hear it every single day ä àWhenás it going to change? You think this is the year?á You get sick and tired of hearing that. Itás awesome that there wonát be any questions anymore. The question is, àAre we going to be able to go farther?áã It marks Pittsburghás first trip to the postseason since Barry Bonds, Jim Leyland and Co. won three straight NL East titles from 1990-92. Starling Marte hit a tiebreaking homer in the ninth inning at Wrigley Field, and Jason Grilli closed it out for save No. 32. The Pirates sprayed each other with bubbly and beer and sparkling cider in the visitorsá clubhouse once St. Louisá 4-3 win over the Washington Nationals became final. The Cincinnati Reds also clinched at least a wild-card berth, when they beat the New York Mets 3-2 in 10 innings. Pittsburgh players sang

SEPT. 23, 2013

Pittsburgh 2, Chicago 1 Win No. 90

Turning point: Starling Marte homers in the top of the ninth to put the Pirates up 21; then, in the bottom of the ninth, Jason Grilli earns save No. 32 when Andrew McCutchen picked up Ryan Sweeney’s single and threw to first baseman Justin Morneau, positioned just in front of the pitcher’s mound. Morneau caught the throw on one hop and made the relay to catcher Russell Martin, who applied the tag on Nate Schierholtz trying to score from first base.

Journeyás âDonát Stop Believing.ã They chanted âMVP! MVP!ã while dousing McCutchen. They took pictures and manager Clint Hurdle had them gather for a group photo in the middle of the cramped visitorsá clubhouse. âThe people of Pittsburgh have been waiting a long time,ã said Neil Walker, who homered in the first to give the Bucs the early lead. The Pirates snapped a 1-all tie when Marte sent a drive off Kevin Gregg with two outs in the ninth into the left field bleachers. In a fitting coincidence, they then preserved the victory on the final out in a play at the plate. McCutchen, the center fielder, picked up Ryan Sweeneyás bloop single after right fielder Marlon Byrd failed in trying to scoop up the ball and threw to first baseman Justin Morneau, positioned just in front of the pitcherás mound. Morneau caught the throw on one hop and made the relay to catcher Russell Martin, who

applied the tag on Nate Schierholtz trying to score from first base. Still on his knees, Martin held the ball over his head in jubilation. Then, he was embraced by Grilli before heaving the ball toward deep left field as the Pirates celebrated near the mound. Grilli escaped with his 32nd save in 34 chances. âTwenty-one years since we popped champagne in a Pirates clubhouse ä and weáre acting like itás been a long time,ã Hurdle said. âThe hard work, the fun. Iám just proud of each and every man in here, the fans they represent, ownership, general

manager, president ... the scouts, players. This has been a group effort for a long time.ã The Cubs tied it in the eighth off Mark Melancon. Walker homered off Jeff Samardzija in the first to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead, and Charlie Morton pitched three-hit ball over seven scoreless innings before the Cubs tied it against Melancon. Brian Bogusevic led off the eighth with a single, his second hit, and moved up on a groundout by Darwin Barney. Then, after a wild pitch, he scored the tying run on a sin-

gle by pinch-hitter Donnie Murphy. That spoiled a terrific start for Morton, who struck out five and walked one. Samardzija was almost as good, allowing one run and five hits over six innings. He struck out seven and walked four after going 0-1 with a 7.11 ERA in his previous four starts. He pitched seven solid innings against Milwaukee last week but got into a disagreement with third base coach David Bell over defensive positioning in the dugout. Samardzijaás only blemish in this one came when Walker drove a 1-1 pitch out to leftcenter with one out in the first. With the long ball, Walker matched a career high of 14 set last season. He has four homers in the past five games. Samardzija settled down after that but got little support as the Cubs lost for the 10th time in 13 games. It was also the second straight day an opponent celebrated at Wrigley Field. Atlanta clinched the NL East on Sept. 22, and this time, it was the Piratesá turn to party. âThatás what we need to do,ã Samardzija said. âI think weáre getting there, but we need to get some things ironed out.ã The Pirates finally have it figured out. Now, theyáre playoffbound.





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Pittsburgh Pirates Special Edition  

"Turning Point: 9 Games that Defined the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates" is a special publication dedicated to the baseball team's accomplishments...

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