Showing resiliency that will be the key to this year's World Series victories in Games 2 through 5, the Pirates won another must-win game Sunday after blowing Saturday's game in horrific fashion.
Saturday night, the Pirates led 4-3 in the eighth inning when terrible shit ensued. Pirates setup man Jose Veras is being blamed for the loss and he did walk the leadoff man, but Hunter Pence would easily have been caught stealing third easily if Michael McKenry didn't inexplicably fail to make any throw at all on the play. Clint Barmes also reached on a Brandon Wood error. It's a rare situation of the defense letting us down. Anwyay, my expected celebration Natural Lights ended up as consolation Natural Lights as the Pirates' latest stay in first ended in 24 hours.
The Pirates bounced back on Sunday of course, winning yet another series. They're now 17-0 in must win games this season. Unofficially, the Pirates have now won every series for the past 14 years except this year's matchup with the future 2011 AL pennant winners, the Cleveland Indians.
Neil Walker got six hits in the two days to raise his batting line to .273/.336/.410. But Chase d'Arnaud, still batting second, went 0-for-6 with four strikeouts Sunday and now has just a .244 on base percentage. If he's staying in the lineup it should be in the eighth position, but I would just send him back to Indianapolis whenever Ronny Cedeno comes back. Four years ago I would have used the word 'when' so that use of 'whenever' really makes me a true fan.
Joe Beimel made a triumphant return to the bullpen, pitching two-thirds of a scoreless inning. The Root Sports announcers claimed he was mad about giving up a hit. Joe Beimel has never shown any emotion ever, not even after giving up a home run. He's holding off on emotions until the World Series. It's the smart thing to do.