The entire nation seems to be pulling for the Pittsburgh Pirates tonight. Who can blame us? The energy in PNC Park is absolutely contagious. The players and fans are all wearing their black shirts and jerseys. It’s Pittsburgh’s #blackout.
Francisco Liriano and his filthy slider vs. Johnny Cueto and his… BP tosses.
Chants of “Cueeeeeeeeto” reverberate around PNC Park as both Marlon Byrd and Russell Martin take Cueto deep to left field. The Pirates take a 2-0 lead and the chants don’t stop anytime Cueto takes the field. It’s both inspiring to see fans this crazed as well as depressing to think about the last time I got be this crazed about the Mets. (Game 7, 2006) Le sigh.
A less organized chant of “Marshall” at Sean Marshall ensues when Cueto is pulled. It works. Pirates score again on a Neil Walker double. Marshall doesn’t make it out of the inning. The chants seemed to work.
Francisco Liriano ends up going 7 innings giving up just 1 run on 4 hits with a walk and 5 strikeouts. Can’t ask for much more from your pitcher in a do or die game. Outstanding night for Liriano.
The Reds couldn’t muster much of anything against Liriano, so their last chance is against the Pirate ‘pen with only 6 outs to play. With Pitt up 6-1, that’s a pretty big hill to climb.
Potential future Met, Shin-Soo Choo makes it interesting in the 8th with one out by taking Pirate lefty Tony Watson deep into the right field making it 6-2. Might have been fan interference, but the guy doesn’t get mugged since the lead is still 4 runs. After Ryan Ludwick hits a double, Votto and Phillips both ground out to first to end the top half of the 8th and leave the Reds with only 3 outs until elimination.
Jason Grilli comes in to close for the Pirates and sits the Reds down 1-2-3 to seal the date with St. Louis. The Reds never looked like they had a shot tonight. The NL Central will just have to go on and keep eliminating themselves without them.
Good for Pittsburgh. First playoff win since 1992. This was something special for a victory starved fanbase. Now they get to play in the real playoffs.