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Final: Pirates 2, Cubs 1

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to first pitch …

Game: Pirates (89-67) vs. Chicago Cubs (65-91)

Starters: RHP Charlie Morton vs. RHP Jeff Samardzija

Time: 8:05 p.m.

Site: Wrigley Field, Chicago

TV, radio: Root Sports, WGN (national), 93.7 The Fan

Here’s the official live box score.

Here’s the Pirates’ lineup …

  1. Jose Tabata, LF
  2. Neil Walker, 2B
  3. Andrew McCutchen, CF
  4. Justin Morneau, 1B
  5. Marlon Byrd, RF
  6. Pedro Alvarez, 3B
  7. Russell Martin, C
  8. Jordy Mercer, SS
  9. Morton, P

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates pageRob Biertempfel is on the scene.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and more, including his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the top four columnists in the country -- highest circulation category -- by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the top three columnists in the country by the National Headliners Awards. For 2013, he was named top columnist in the state by the Keystone Awards and second-place by the Pennsylvania AP Managing Editors.

559 Comments

  1. And down the stretch they come!!!

  2. Good to see Russell back in there,

  3. Time to right the ship after yesterday’s battle where the reds blasted several holes in the hull

  4. Glad Martin’s knee must be OK.

    Ground Chuck to the rescue! :)

  5. MULTI-LINE MONDAY!!!

    Standings will be updated sometime this evening, sorry didn’t get around to updating them yesterday.

    ******PLEASE READ WHAT IS WRITTEN BELOW******
    PLEASE PLACE YOUR “WAGERS” AS REPLIES IN THIS COMMENT BOX
    Makes my job a helluva lot easier when I don’t have to hunt to find everyone’s “wagers”

    Max “wager” is 100 units on any single line.
    All “wagers” must be in multiples of 5 units.
    Play as few or as many lines as you’d like.
    As always, this is for fun and entertainment purposes.

    NEW PLAYERS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME & ENCOURAGED!!

    Line #1
    Total STRIKEOUTS THROWN by Charlie Morton in tonight’s game?
    Line is 6.5

    Line #2
    Total STRIKEOUTS by Pirates Batters in tonight’s game
    Line is 9.5

    GOOD LUCK!!!

    Wild Card Magic Number: 2

    Anything is possible if a person believes
    Mark 9:23

    WHAT WOULD ALEX PRESLEY DO…KEEP CALM, PANIC, or WATCH THE PENGUINS GAME?

  6. Afternoon, Gang!

  7. Line 1—-UNDER

    Line 2—-OVER

    Both for 100, please.

  8. The more I think I know the less I actually do. I would have thought with ground chuck in there Barmes would be in the line up. Whatever. I’m happy to see Mercer get back out there. Really didn’t think he should sit as long as he did after the error

    • Me, too…until yesterday when Barmes had two errors.

      • Did he have two? I honestly don’t know. DVR’ed the game and then didn’t watch it after the second inning after my son told me they loss 11-3

      • So our choices at Shortstop are one who can’t hit but might make a really great play once every 5 or 6 games – but is capable of blowing an easy opportunity now and then and makes $6 Million…

        OR
        A shortstop who hits for OK average, but has NO power and will now and then make an error – and makes less than a Mil…

        Does it take a Mensa to figure out who plays – and yes even though Mercer starts and plays to 8 or 9 as long as we are [over] paying for Barmes I would put him out there as a late inning D sub.

  9. Tonight we’re going to party like it’s 1979- maybe. Rolling Rock in the fridge ready if they clinch a Wild Card berth.

  10. Szmardzija – i’m not going to bother checking whether I got that spelling correct – had a stranglehold on the Bucs until some point this year. I think we have hit him pretty well a couple of times in a row. And he has been in a general funk overall for a few months. I hope it stays that way tonight.

    I think we are going to need to take 2 of 3, minimum, next weekend to avoid going back there for the WC game. The season series is now tied 8-8, and the tiebreaker for homefield advantage goes to the season series winner, right? So, even if we go into Cincy up 1 game, if the Reds take 2 of 3 they win the tiebreaker. I think I have that right. If so, being up 1 game on them is the same as being tied, for all intents and purposes. That’s a lot of thinking for my brain. Someone tell me if I got that wrong.

    I know we still need to beat up on the Cubbies first, but that game Friday was an absolute killer!

    • spot on Jim… it’s interesting but if the Cards keep the division out of reach, then it becomes pretty likely (unless there is a 2-game differential in these midweek series (one team sweeps and other loses series 1-2 or one team wins series and other team gets swept), it will all come down to who wins the series in Cincy…. this MIGHT make the Wednesday game irrelevant (i.e. Bucs and Reds each split the first 2 games of their series)…. then IF I’m Clint Hurdle, wouldn’t it be tempting to move Liriano to Friday’s game in Cincy (he could still go on Tuesday for the wildcard game on 3-days rest)?

      • Great minds…, cmat. You just type faster than I do. Interesting point about pushing Liriano if Reds and Bucs each split Mon & Tues. But I don’t like starting Frankie on 3 days rest for the WC game. Cole would be available for that game if you push Frankie back. Do you trust him with the first playoff game in 20 years?

        • yes, personally I’d be ok with any of the top 4 pitching in a 1-game and done scenario…my personal order is: Liriano/Cole/AJ/Morton…Cole comes up big in big games.

      • Cmat, I think moving Liriano over for that game was already mentioned last week by CH.

      • I really don’t care where the WC game is played. It’s more important to have Liriano on five days’ rest for that win-or-go home game.

    • Pretty sure you have that right Jim. Not so much the spelling, but the tie-breaker for the home field advantage part. The weird thing is it’s the same situation if the Reds are up 1 game going into Friday also. So unless either they or the Bucs build a 2 game lead in the next 3 games, home field for the WC comes down to winning the series in Cincy.

    • You’re right, Jim. I would have agreed with you sooner, but I was out mowing the grass. A task, my wife reminded me, I had neglected for far too long. Add the two inches of rain we got on Saturday, and it was a mess.

      This should be an interesting week. Winnable games in Chicago for the Bucs, challenging games for the Cardinals, and who knows about the Reds. The Mets are a .500 team on the road, but 13 under at home. That doesn’t make sense.

  11. With just five more games after tonight, it is becoming clear that Jose Tabata is the guy in left for the rest of the season. Good for him – he’s earned it – and good for Hurdle, who is rewarding him while recognizing that Marte has looked awful at the plate since returning.

    Is there any reason at all to have Justin Morneau bat cleanup? Ok, other than the theory that lineup construction is irrelevant.

    • Because his bat plays well with that short porch in right field at PNC. Oops I forgot we may have just played our last game there for the year. Well hopefully we have at least one more there and he saved that first PNC home run for then. It would all be worth it if that is the case.

      • I spent Friday and Saturday night in the right field stands watching Justin pepper the warning track in front of that “short porch”.

        Ugh.

    • Right now, I think I might bat Walker in that spot before Morneau. He seems to be out of his funk finally.

    • See you destracted me with the Morneau comment. I originally was going to give you a + on the Tabata comment. He has earned it and it is nice to see him rewarded.

    • Alvarez’ .203 average since Aug 1 may have something to do with. Morneau isn’t quite the easy out as Alvarez…. that’s all I got.

  12. I see Bill Buckner is back at short. :-)

  13. My current mindset is “hope” for the Cards leaving door cracked for the division but PLAN for a one-game wild card game…. 2 down with 6 to play, all Cards home games, and both the Reds and Bucs need to be planning for the wildcard round.

    There are many ways of looking at this but this is one Bucs fan that is happy MLB has a wildcard… now, we can argue whether we need TWO wildcards and the 1-game play-in, but how crappy would it be for such a magical season to finish on Sunday, with the Bucs a game or two out of it for the division crown?

    ALL OF THAT SAID, I thnk the biggest hope is that the Bucs can play again at PNC this season… we all want the fans to experience a home playoff game, to salute this team for a helluva accomplishment…not getting that chance would be sad. If you really think about it, 1 game at home is all that any team except the top 2 records in each league are guaranteed in the playoffs….in a best of 5 series, if you lose the first 3 (including 1 at home), you are done. Not much difference there.

  14. It looks like the Mets have been playing pretty good of late. Maybe they can help us out. I see Vic Black has pitched 10 innings for them since the trade with 9 K’s and a 1.10 WHIP. It would be awesome for him to somehow contibute to beating the Reds.

    • Terry Collin will have his team playing hard…. Aaron Harang…ummm, not sure that gives me much hope for tonight, though.

    • Mets are 7-3 in last 10.

    • The Pirates will need to sweep the Cubs to stay tied. The Mets are 7-3 in their last 10, against the Marlins, Giants & Phillies. The Mets last try against a contender was a 4 gamer at home against the Nats. They lost all 4 in a series that saw the Nats hit more homers than the Mets scored runs. This is a Reds sweep.

      • that’s what I’m PLANNING on but HOPING for something better… now, if the Bucs win the first 2 of their series in Chicago, do they bump Liriano to Friday’s game because it won’t matter if they win or lose the next day, they will still need to win the series in GABP?

        • If you move him to Friday neither he nor AJ can pitch the playoff game. That’s the only game that matters, next Tuesday. All of this leading up to it is window dressing & elevator music.

          • Agree, you must line up your pitching for that one game. It is almost certainly going to happen and the Reds can’t seem to figure Liriano out. I don’t him pitching in 1 of 162 games instead of the 1 and only game.

            • Liriano starts & a rested Cole is 1st man up if there’s early trouble.

              • I hope that is exactly how they are planning on playing that game. Not only has Cole pitched well of late but if Liriano for some reason give up 3 early runs Cole coming in would keep the crowd into the game if at home.

                The question is if it comes down to game 162 to decide home field do you pitch Cole then to try and get the game at home. I think it was you that posted the Pirates pitching splits a while back. Liriano is much better at home.

          • Do they still play elevator music?
            I thought they went away from instrumental stuff.

            Of course, some elevator music is good.
            (Better than what they pass for music today).

            :)

          • I guess it comes down to how much Clint will do to get the play-in game at PNC vs. GABP. If the Wednesday game at Wrigley is meaningless (and it would be in a few scenarios), then Liriano has greater value starting one of the 3 games vs the Reds as it relates to the home field advantage. I seem to recall Clint saying that Liriano could come back and pitch Sunday vs Reds if the division was at stake (that would be the same amount of rest he would need to pitch both Friday at GABP AND Tuesday at hopefully PNC for the WC game).

            But I’m sure Clint will just keep the rotation as it is, save for skipping Locke’s start on Saturday. I’m ok with that, just wondering out loud if they’d consider a Liriano/AJ/Morton rotation for the Reds series, with Cole backing up a 3-day rest Liriano for the WC game. But c’est la vie.

            • Hmmmmm….

              I am not sure if I wouldn’t shut down AJ, Franky and Cole once the Nationals are eliminated…

              I would also shut down the four relievers we care about…

              Grilli
              Melancon
              Watson
              Wilson

              And maybe Gomez…

              My logic is that I have depth in the staff – and what I want is to go into the play in game with my top three starters rested – I am not giving up on winning the home game – or winning the Central – but the last thing I want is to enter a play in game with Locke being my starter…

        • Most likely not because it would move AJ off his scheduled start and leave Lirano not available to start the Oct. 1 game

      • I disagree Milo (respectfully, of course). Anything can happen in that Dice K-Greg Reynolds matinee on Thursday. And what’s Cueto gonna bring to the party tonight? As Rotoworld said last Monday “Facing Houston with Trevor Crowe batting third is practically a rehab start. Cueto allowed five hits, walked one and struck out five while throwing 82 pitches. He should be ready to throw 90-95 pitches this weekend against the Pirates.” I missed why he didn’t face the Bucs. Anyone know? Was he scared?

        The Mets are young and hungry, and I for one have complete faith in them. I can’t believe I just wasted the time to type that.

  15. I’m doubting we will see Marte in the lineup in the regular season, becoming clear that he isn’t ready to be a factor at the plate (either injury or rust or both)… I’d also think he’d be LEFT OFF the roster for the NLDS (WHEN the Bucs get there) but I’d also think he’d be ON the roster for the wildcard game… you can leave off a few starting pitchers from the active roster for that game and you’d have extra slots for offensive players…and Marte’s speed and defense may make a difference.

    • I could be wrong but I personally don’t see 5 outfielders on the team worth keeping over Marte even if he is just being used as a pinch runner or defensive replacement.

      • No real argument here, but per Greg Brown he feels like the Bucs will NOT have Marte on the roster just to pinchrun and play 8th inning defense… in that case, you’d have to think they will keep both Jones and Pie on the roster…though I’d argue Jones is the one that isn’t needed of those 2.

  16. As to Morneau, and where he should hit…. IF you agree that he should indeed be in the lineup (and I’m not hearing anyone say he shouldn’t), then what is the best batting order we can muster at this point? Do we plug Mercer or Martin in the 2 spot, Walker at 3 and move Cutch to cleanup? Do we flip-flop Byrd and Morneau? I didn’t like it when Pedro was clean-up and Martin doesn’t belong there…… I’m inclined to keep it as it is, but if they can’t get it together then you shake it up….

    I think my view is you plug Mercer in the 2 spot and take your chances there… otherwise Morneau is cleanup because I HATE the idea of Morneau and Pedro back to back.

  17. I know a lot of people are looking at the Wild Card game as a “1 and done” but its really like a game 7 with Reds. Played 3 in Pitt this weekend, 3 in cincy next weekend so it will really be like a game 7. That being said, this should be the lineup:

    Marte
    Cutch
    Byrd
    Walker
    Mourneau
    Alvarez
    Mercer
    Martin
    Liriano

    **Simply put Byrd is more of a “power” hitter than cutch. Having those 2 at the top of the lineup adds speed which is necessary to getting that easy base. Mercer is a better hitter than Barmes so he has to stay especially if the game is at GAB where hitting is essential. Walker has been hitting great lately and doesnt strike out as much as pedro so he gets the cleanup spot. Is this lineup unconventional? Of course, but when you are 12/16th in runs scored thru 155 games, what you have been doing isnt working!

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  19. I’m willing to be tempted to watch this game.

    But I don’t think I can take it. If they get up by 10, I’ll be able to tough it out.

  20. Manny Machado was carted off in Tampa with a bad leg injury. Real bad.

  21. Mood seems kind of low in here tonight. Has it been a rough day today? If so, I’m sending you all of the good vibes I can. :-)

  22. The Boss was on a roll today… other than that it was blog business as usual. :)

  23. Jeez this is fun!!! An honest to God pennant race. Nerve racking, but fun. Hope the Reds lose and Nats win. I still want the division. That one game wild card game scares the heck out of me.

    I’ve been so wrapped up in the games that I haven’t gotten of the blog much during them, but I read bits and pieces. You’re all a bunch of nuts. Oops, I mean Lunitics

  24. Things I’ve waited 21 years to see…a ROOT Sports story on preparing to celebrate a playoff birth. Let’s get this done tonight!

  25. LAAAADDDDDDD NIIIIIIINNNNNNNEEEEE!

  26. Reds are up 1-0, still batting in the bottom of the second, bases loaded and Votto up. “Good Grief Charlie Brown”

  27. Cubs stacking 6 lefties against Charlie.

  28. Walker loves Wrigley!

  29. Mets got one back. Reds 2 – Mets 1 Middle 2nd

  30. I only have one thing to say to our dear Hipposter (with apologies to Shirley Booth)
    Come back, Come back, Little Hippo!

  31. some nice plays there…now go get some more runs, Bucs!

  32. 1-2-3 Good paly Pedro. Good start Charlie.

  33. Nice hit Jordy!

  34. Luis Valbuena, the glove is merely a prop.

  35. Not smart base running there.

  36. I picked a fine time to tune in!

  37. God love our Buccos, base running woes and all!

  38. Nats 2-0 bottom of the first.

  39. Mike DiMuro is tonight’s hack behind the plate.

  40. Nats 2 – Cards 1 End of 1st

  41. My thoughts are Pirates win and Cards win tonight and get rid of the Nats once and for all. Then jockey for position. I can easily see the Pirates getting swept in Cincy (at least not beyond the realm of possibility), and what if Nats run the table. Pirates would need 2 in Wrigley, which might not happen.

    • No No No! It’s a pennant race. You don’t go for number 2 after all this. Nats win today and the next day and so do we and we are tied for Numero Uno and we eliminate the Nats and they help us. We are not losers anymore. Lets go for it all.

      • I like talk like that Double K!

      • Nobody’s going for no. 2. I want the Pirates in. What I don’t want is the Nats still alive when the Oirates arrive in Cincy. If the opportunity arises for the Cards to win tonight and that puts the Pirates in, tgen I say root for the Cards. A second win for the Pirates might never come. A bird in the hand …

        • We’re not exactly smoking Smardja either. Letting the Cubs hang around. Wrigley is the site of the Homer in the Gloamin’ from 1938, an infamous event in Pirates history. Any help from the Cards or anyone else would be greatly appreciated.

        • So after tonight we would have to go 0-5 and the Nats 5-0. Not very likely to happen.

  42. I am wishing for a black hole to swallow the Nats, the Reds, and the Cards so they are never seen or heard from again. Problem solved. :-)

  43. This guy’s ERA is 4.40. Imagine what it is against everyone else.

  44. Nice hit Petey!

  45. Ground Chuck make me a hamburger!

  46. This strike zone is a joke. And I don’t find it the least bit funny.

  47. Mets and Reds tied at 2 after 6.

  48. Adam L. Just rolled into a dp with men on first & third — just like old times.

      • I live in Melbourne Fl. The Nats spring training is here and I go up in the morning to watch the workouts. You get real close to the players. They are on 4 adjacent fields doing drills. BP, etc. I didn’t like Adam when he was a Buc. Never looked like he was trying hard. Getting a close up look he just does not look like a nice guy. Good riddance. Hope he hits a homer tonight though. Go Nats. Sorry Reading.

  49. Wrong team Charlie!

  50. That pitch by Charlie looked a lot like the one that hit Cutch Friday night. Just sayin’.

  51. Our top three pitchers, top four, actually, should scare the hell out of any team in a five game series. It will be fun to watch. Assuming we can average 2 + runs.

  52. Well STL tied the game!

  53. What a pleasure it has been to watch Charlie come back from not only TJ surgery, but also an afterthought as far as fulfilling any of the promise he had when he was acquired…he has been more than awesome this year.

  54. 1-0 Bucs, 2-2 Cards & Nats, 2-2 Reds & Mets. OMG this is a blast. Hee! Hee!

  55. Don’t you just get the feeling this won’t end well ?

  56. Also nice to see Walker getting hot down the stretch…especially with the long ball…

  57. Thank you PBC

    My heart says I could not have put up with this stuff for 20 years

    Then again, my heart says

    Beat Em Bucs

  58. Mets first and second no outs

  59. Come on Charlie…hope I didn’t jinx him…lol.

  60. Ground Chuck delivers two all beef patties right there folks!

  61. Nice way to end that inning :)

  62. Two dominant starts in a row for Charlie…Ace-like starts…

  63. Looks like they’re really intent on watching the end of the Cardinals game.

  64. OK gonna shut down the puter and go watch this upstairs…hang in there Bucs!

  65. Here we go with the 1-0 games again.

  66. Night all. It’s been a long day and my bed is calling,

  67. Ground Chuck serves up yet another double patty!!

  68. Reds have Billy Hamilton at 2B with 2outs…bottom 8th…

  69. You just know the Cards-Nats will either go into a prolonged rain delay or 19 innings- just to extend the anticipation.

  70. Morton showing no signs of tiring, pulled after 89 pitches.

  71. Mark a shark again?

  72. Ok Shark…let’s do it…

  73. Defensive replacement: this is serious now.

  74. Tired of that guy.

  75. This Bogasevek gets all the luck! Two dubious calls, followed by hits.

  76. Hurdle puts the now broken Melancon in there when Morton clearly had another inning in him. More great managing. Season ends in 8 days thanks to CH.

  77. Gee, who didn’t see that coming ?

  78. Difficult patch for Melancon. Seems more worried about the runners than the batter.

  79. A great start by Morton gets wasted.

  80. Better hope the Cards take 2 of 3 from the Nats.

  81. Reds have winning run at 2B with no outs…

  82. But hey, not like the offense couldn’t have scored another run or two, but really what is wrong with hurdle, he must be drinking again.

  83. That’s 4 times this week that CH has mismanaged the starting pitching. He is awful!

  84. What a shame…four Pirate starters have been pitching their keisters off. They deserve better.

  85. Just a bit outside the pole.

  86. Didn’t Blylevin demand a trade because Tanner kept pulling him like this? For those with long memories, not to mention teeth.

  87. Nice strategy “Petey”.

    Real tough one for Charlie.

    Value a just missed, then the Shark K’s him.

    Stuart

  88. Grumble, grumble.

  89. Ok, let’s get it back…

  90. Cubs radio said that if Alverez had maintained his position instead of jumping around trying to hold the runner he could’ve made the play on the ball.

  91. According to Rock, Pedro was out of position, which led to the run.

  92. Melancon has blown saves in 3 consecutive appearances.

  93. Once again our manager, Dumbhead Hurdle takes out the pitcher who has blanked the
    Cubbies for 7 innings and puts in the reliever who has blown the last 3 saves for us.
    What does he have against a starter pitching a complete game? And if the hitless wonders had scored a few more runs, it would have been a lot easier for Morton.
    GO, STEELERS!!!

  94. VALBUENA. Curse spell checks. Let’s go Barmey.

    Stuart

  95. PH Jones. He usually does well against the Cubs.

  96. Partway!

    Stuart

  97. Clutch HR from Marte!

  98. MARTAY PARTAY¡!!!!!!!

  99. Woo Hoo!

    Rehire Clint!

  100. I see we brought the putrid offense with us on the road trip, but then again it wasn’t there much on the homestand either. I was at the last three and even though they won one and had the great chance to win the other, they did not hit. Marte now hits one, so I take it all back 2-1!!!!!!!!

  101. Of course, now we have to endure the adventure of Grilli in the 9th.

  102. Welcome back to the Par-tay Senior Marte!!

  103. And the Reds just failed to get a guy in from third with no outs.

  104. AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!

  105. Reds fail to score in the bottom of the 9th with bases juiced.

  106. The first HR for little Smerling! Marte Partay!

  107. The Marte Parte returns with a 9th inning solo blast to give the Buccos the 2-1 lead! Nice to see you Starling.

    Mets get out of bases loaded jam in bottom of 9th as Reds fail to get RISP home in three chances, to extras they go!

  108. Reds had the the winning run at 3B with no outs in the ninth…ended up leaving the bases loaded…on to the 10th…

  109. Thank you Marte!

  110. Hopefully the weight of trying to help out in this race was lifted from Marte’s shoulders with that swing. He certainly reacted like that helped out a lot.

  111. That’s the 2nd 9th inning homer he’s hit off Gregg this year.

  112. 2013 Buccos = RESILIENT!

  113. 3 outs from the playoffs.

  114. Watson in. I like that idea.

  115. Clint managing to win.

  116. Bring back the “grilledCheese”!

    Whoops, Watson 2 the rescue!

    Stuart

  117. “Elementary my dear” Watson on to pitch!

  118. Whitey Herzog-esque. Ken Dayley for the lefty then Worrell finishes.

  119. Ugghh…come on Tony…

  120. Great pick by Morneau!

  121. Mets have the go-ahead run at 2B with 1 out…Chapman out of the game…

  122. Two more baby!!

  123. 2 outs to 90!

    Stuart

  124. Let’s serve them some Grilled Cheese!!

  125. Washington has 2 on and no outs in the 8th

  126. This ump has very bad judgement!

  127. Grilli had 2 strike 3′s he didn’t get. Ridiculous.

  128. These Umps blow! Strike three turns to ball four even though he was giving it to the Cubs all night.

  129. My God. That was a perfect pitch! Guy is awful back there.

  130. Cards 4-3 , nats 2 outs man on 2nd

  131. Come on one more!

  132. Morneau again!!! Two down on a great stop and force out at second. 4-3 gnats now down 1.

  133. Now he gives him the call. Idiot!

  134. I see, you have be clearly below the zone to get a strike call.

  135. The power of wishful thinking in action!!!

  136. don’t care what root sports says I’m rooting for the cardinals, still hope to win the division.

  137. Dormie.

  138. Cutch saved that play and the Bucs win 2-1 and win #90!!!!!!!

  139. Well that was exciting.

  140. YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  141. Morneau with a poor man’s Jeter play. lol

  142. Raise it! Almost as high as my blood pressure. My freaking word. WOW!!!!!

  143. Behind another superb Charlie Morton start, a Jason Grill save his 32nd and solo jacks from Neil Walker and Starling Morton the Bucs take the first game of the series in Chicago 2-1 and there was nooooooooooo doubt about it.

    With the win the Bucs earn their 90th win of the season and are three outs away in St Louis from clinching their first playoff spot since 1992.

    The Bucs will go for the series win tomorrow night when Gerrit Cole takes the mound for the Bucs!

    Let’s Go Bucs and Raise the Jolly Rodger!

  144. #McClatchy90

  145. Morneau very big on ALL three of the outs in the 9th inning! Awesome pick up.

  146. Grilli is slowly getting his confidence back,…..

  147. Grilli gives up a two strike hit, Byrd misses the ball, McCutcheon airmails it – and we get the guy at the place so Melancon gets the win……only the Bucs could pull that off

  148. It’s hard not to root for the cards after that ending but I suppose it’s better if Washington would win.

  149. 90 wins and the playoffs. Who’d a thunk it?

  150. Night all. I’m going up to watch MLB to see if they show the Bucs celebrate!!

  151. Morneau earned his pay in the 9th.

  152. Mornauwas certainly a great pickup!

    90!

    Stuart

  153. 2 outs till the Pirates are playoff bound.

  154. 2 outs to go!

  155. I usually have low blood pressure. NOT TONIGHT!!

    Peak to valley to peak! WOW!!!

  156. THE BUCCOS ARE IN THE PLAYOFFS!!!

    THE BUCCOS ARE IN THE PLAYOFFS!!!

    FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OVER 20 YEARS, THE BUCCOS ARE IN THE PLAYOFFS!!!

  157. We are in the playoffs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  158. PLAYOFFSSS!!!!!! You doom and gloomers can breathe now…..

  159. It’s over kids. At long, long last.

  160. WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!

    :) :) :) :) :) :)

  161. We are in the playoffs. I don’t know what to even do, but I am going to have a drink….the playoffs. Wow

  162. Adam LaRoche puts the Pirates into the playoffs!!!
    Life is sweet sometimes.

  163. A GREAT NIGHT!!!!

  164. Raise the Smerling!

  165. Now the Nats can take the next two from the Cards… ;)

  166. You tell me they wanted to wait another day. No way!!!”

  167. The Pirates return to postseason baseball, congrats to Neal Huntington, Clint Hurdle, Ray Searage and all the players that have made this such a magical season and one to never forget!

    The next five games are the window dressing and jockeying for what hopefully turns into a division title or a home wildcard game.

    This has been such a fun team to follow, their competitive spirit, the comradery, the resiliency this team has played with all season proves what a TEAM can accomplish. The Pirates proved all the naysayers and doubters wrong tonight.

    Feels great to be a Pirate fan!

  168. BREAK OUT THE ROLLING ROCK!!!!

  169. Finally.

    Thank you Bob Nutting.

    Thank you Frank Coonelly

    Thank you Neal Huntington

    Thank you Clint Hurdle

  170. I remember now.

  171. I just poured some water on myself, as I was directed.

  172. This game tonight is what playoff baseball is all about….

  173. I am so happy tonight. This is an absolutely wonderful night. I cannot wait for the post season to begin now. This is a great night!

  174. So Hurdle now has 2 plus-500 teams and 2 playoff teams.

    No more of the “lucky streak in Colorado when they won 20 straight” argument.

    • Exactly Lucky…hmmm..where are all those who were calling for his head earlier in this game? Ohhh they disappeared…CH may frustrate us with his moves at times, but he is a good manager..and just the one this team needed!

      • Have to give Clint Hurdle his due, as he joins Jim Leyland and Chuck Tanner as managers that took Pirate baseball to the playoffs.

        He has gone from 72 to 79 to now 90 wins and counting and doing it with a flawed team. His ability to get players to buy into their roles and his ability to bring a group together is no small undertaking and deserves its recognition.

        Like you said above just the man this team needed and at a time they needed someone like him the most.

    • An excellent manager and a better man. Thank you Clint.

  175. Time for a beer!!

  176. When are they going to start selling playoff gear.

  177. Shout out to Lanny Frattare, who while not my favorite, took us through a lot of these years. There was nooooooooooooooo doubt about it!

  178. It’s over, friends.

    For the first time in almost 21 years, that phrase means something different. It means we don’t wait “’till next year” anymore. It means “next year” starts next week. Tonight, we celebrate the return of Pirate baseball in October. Tonight, we celebrate our return to the playoffs.

    Fear the Bones, national league. We’re coming for you.

  179. One step.
    Le5w enjoy

  180. Whatever happens in the playoffs, whatever good or bad bounces, misfortune, good fortune, wins, losses, highs, lows, thrills or heartbreaks, I will not forget this day. Thank you Bob, Frank, Neil, Clint, Ray, Cutch, Cheese and the rest. The nightmare is over. LETS GO BUCS!!

  181. Where were you when the Pirates clinched a playoff birth.

  182. Hi fives……

    This is so awesome

  183. It’s still a little hard to believe.

    Way to go Bucs!

  184. Wow. Just wow.

  185. So proud of this team.

  186. A little tongue in cheek note about ESPN bias – on one side of the standings there’s a cool little “z” for clinching a playoff berth. On the other side of the column, there’s a 99.9% of us making the playoffs.

  187. finally a playoff team. No longer a laughing stock in baseball. Terrific year and one for the ages

  188. I feel bad for people that look down on those of who love sports. They’re really missing out.

  189. Up here, Everybody! I haven’t read any previous comments yet: I fully expected this to be the only place I’d go tonight where a lot of people wouldn’t yet be happy that we made the playoffs! LOL!

    • Bay…there were a few earlier in the game, but they scurried back to their holes…lol. Now if the Rangers can just make the playoffs and then they make it to the series with the Buccos..we will be set!!

      • “Set” is not a word I use anymore, especially in baseball, and even more SPECIALLY, WALLY (he said in his best Beaver Cleaver accent) with the Pirates!

  190. Abso-whaten-lutely ?

  191. Anyone else going to save their trib tomorrow?

    This is up there with the fall of the Berlin wall.

  192. Let’s Go Bucs! What a season. Great job by all.

  193. Man! We got us a little New Year’s Eve type atmosphere here! Love Yinz!

  194. Someboyd pop me an ARN City!

  195. This is the best broadcast production from ROOT Sports all season

    :-)

  196. I love when Teke gets choked up.

    It’s about the name on the front of the jersey

  197. RAISE THE JOLLY ROGER!!! The Buccos are in the playoffs and I couldn’t be happier. Not embarrassed to say the tears were flowing, right after the final incredible out…and especially when they interviewed Jeff Banister in the locker room.

    So cool to see a group of guys accomplish the unthinkable— the incredible— and easy to forget that real human beings, emphasis on human, play this game that we take so seriously.

    What an incredible call by Greg Brown on that final play…. I will never forget this moment but even more so with that amazing play to end it.

    LETS GO BUCS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    and congrats to all of you insane freaks that love sports and the Pirates enough to not only endure such a loooong drought but also to come together day in and day out to live and die with every lineup, every missed trade, every error, every questionable umpire call, every nailbiting victory and every depressing loss…. I RAISE MY GLASS to the Pirates organization — from top to bottom…but also to YOU FANS…. you deserve it!

  198. Already some bragging on how the Reds clinched a playoff spot, showered and went home. They don’t understand. They can’t understand.

    • Not a chance they get it. Go ahead Dusty. Say something.

      • You know, I think the Reds are doing the right thing, BECAUSE they have been to the playoffs recently, including last season. Which is why next year, when the Bucs clinch at least a wild card, I’ll want them to do the same thing… quiet acknowledgement only.

        But this is so very appropriate for THIS team, THIS franchise, THIS fanbase…and Dusty can choke on his toothpick if he makes any comments about this.

        I heard a lot of the Pirates players say just the right things tonight …and coaches, GM, etc…. this is special for the ‘band of brothers’, the organization and the fans and the city, but it’s “JUST ONE STEP” and it’s right back to work tomorrow.

    • That’s why we despise them milo. ;)

    • Karma.
      Just remember Karma.

      It is truly a mean angry woman.

    • They showered and went home because they don’t like each other

      :-)

  199. Let’s get BUC-ed up!!!

  200. It’s midnight already???

  201. You know what, they take their share of grief from us, but I am really happy for Greg, Bob, Rock, Tim and Blass… they are fans, just like us, and they’ve had a front row seat to yeeeeaaaars of losing..unlike us, they can’t turn off the tv or radio (or throw something at it) and go do something, anything, else…they have to watch all 27 frustrating outs…..

    Feel real good for these guys, too.

  202. Pirates and playoffs….Two words I often wondered if I would ever hear grouped together again.
    Way to go Buccos!

    • You know Daquido, I am happy for you.

      You have been pilloried on many different blogs, attacked , told you were never a Pirate fan…………. but I knew what you went thru. You always said you cheered for the Bucs, and wanted to see effort from the team. Others interpreted your criticisms that you werent a fan.

      ALL Pirate fans deserve tonight’s victory.
      Its been a long ride.

      • All I ever wanted was to see the correct effort from this organization.
        As this year has proceeded….They have done that by acquiring Martin, Byrd, Morneau, etc.
        That’s all I ever asked for….Thanks for your kind thought.
        You and everyone else has been waiting for this for far too long.

  203. “This is something we haven’t done in a whole generation, really,” Banister said. “After 28 years in the organization (as a player and coach), it means the world to me. It’s a thank-you to every one of those fans in Pittsburgh, because it means something to them.”

    Read more: http://triblive.com/sports/pirates/4752320-74/pirates-field-cubs#ixzz2fmQruqen

  204. Thank you fellow bloggers. Reading the posts tonight, and every night really, tells me that I am a humble member of a very special community. Thanks to all who posted and shared their feelings on here tonight. It was truly special.

  205. As DK stated on Twitter, congrats to Bob Nutting. He’s been targeted more than anyone in recent memory here in Pittsburgh and quite honestly, most of it was ridiculous and unfounded. He laid out a plan and, although the execution of the plan has not always been perfect, that plan is finally starting to come to fruition. Kudos to him for staying the course the last few seasons during the collapses when many wanted an entire new regime brought in. One of the most exciting things about this organization now is how they are set up to do this for the foreseeable future.

    Hopefully, as a fanbase, we can finally dismiss with the ridiculous “no more than 5 mil/yr” conspiracy theories among others.

    It’s a GREAT day to be a Buccos fan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • And you see what happened after they finally paid players like Burnett, Liriano, Martin…Along with late acquisitions like Byrd and Morneau.
      Without the purse strings being opened “a bit”… We wouldn’t have seen this playoff run become a reality.

      • You said a lot of crap over the years that was just plain false. Don’t sit here and act like they made a run because they finally did what you preached. You were wrong about Nutting and NH A LOT!!!!

        • Made the run because of what was preached by ME?…lol.
          Again….They finally did what was necessary to get the team over the top.
          That is all that MANY people have asked for.
          Enjoy it or go to bed….

  206. MY STRATEGY WORKED!

    Frigging Melancon, you jabroni!

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