How would the Bucs clinch their 20th straight losing season after being no-hit for their 81st loss on Friday? A blown save and a TOOTBLAN, of course!
Wandy Rodriguez pitched a very solid game. Over six innings, he gave up just two runs on six hits; putting the Bucs in a great situation to win. His offense picked him up with three runs. Garrett Jones smashed his 26th bomb of the season with Josh Harrison on first, and Cutch gave the lead in the fifth when he drove in Alex Presley.
Johnny Cueto, in search of his 20th win, stayed in the game until the eighth. He got the no-decision, but that didn’t guarantee a Pirates’ win. Jason Grilli took over in the top of the eighth and struck out the side. Heading into today, the Bucs were a perfect 69-0 when leading after eight innings; a sign of Joel Hanrahan‘s dominance this year. He hasn’t been perfect, but when he’s blown saves, the offense has picked him up and won the game. This time was different. Xavier Paul, a member of the 2011 Buccos, led off with a game-tying home run to RF. With two outs, Hammer continued to get tortured by another mediocre member of last year’s Pirates. Ryan Ludwick came in as a pinch-hitter and doubled to LF. It should have been a single, but Starling Marte brutally misplayed the ball and allowed Ludwick to get into scoring position. Zack Cozart doubled in the go-ahead run, making it 4-3 Reds.
The game was still far from over, though, as Aroldis Chapman came in for the save. His control issues continued when he walked Jose Tabata on four pitches. Chapman overthrew a pickoff attempt and Tabata was off to the races. Nick Leyva waved him all the way to third, where he was gunned down by a perfect throw from Cincinnati second baseman Wilson Valdez. Tabata had committed one of the worst mistakes a ballplayer can make – getting thrown out at third for the first out. Clint Barmes walked next and Rod Barajas singled, which would have scored Tabata. But the Pirates’ luck had run out as Michael McKenry and Starling Marte struck out to complete the worst collapse in baseball history.
That’s it. Two whole decades without a winning team in Pittsburgh. It really is a shame. The Pirates broke their own record for most consecutive losing seasons and became the only team in MLB history to go from 16 games over .500 to turning in a sub-.500 season. History has been made.
Pirates (77-82) – Reds (96-63)
Win: Sean Marshall (5-5)
Loss: Hanrahan (5-2)
Save: Chapman (37)