July 16, 2011
Pirates shut out Astros, 4-0, in tie for first place (Paul Zeise, 7/15/11, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
[T]he Pirates offense has seemingly becoming baseball's version of the St. Louis Rams' "Greatest Show on Turf." [...]Posted by Orrin Judd at July 16, 2011 7:54 AM
More importantly, the victory, combined with St. Louis's 6-5 loss to Cincinnati, means the Pirates are in a first-place tie with the Cardinals. This is the latest in a season the Pirates have been in first-place since July 17th, 1997, though they ended up finishing in second place that year.
And not surprisingly, Alex Presley, who seemingly runs so fast that if he had a flux capacitor attached to his belt he'd be capable of time travel, got things started for the Pirates in the top of the first inning.
Presley led off with a single, then stole second with no problem and easily tagged up from second to third on a fly-out to right field by Chase d'Arnaud.
Just like that, the Pirates, who stole three bases in the game, had a runner in scoring position and when Neil Walker singled they led 1-0.
Then in the top of the third, after Presley was hit by a pitch and d'Arnaud -- who, may not be fast enough to travel back in time but probably could give a DeLorean a run for its money - singled it gave the Pirates two runners in scoring position and nobody out.
Oh, yes, only one of the two -- Presley, who was at second - was technically in scoring position, but as fast as those two guys can run they are a threat to score from anywhere on the base paths on anything hit through the infield.
But after Neil Walker struck out, the Pirates third speed demon, Andrew McCutchen didn't leave much room for error as he drove the ball into the gap in deep right centerfield and in the process recorded his team-high fourth triple of the season.
Still, it was a thing of beauty to watch these three rounding the bases with the grace of gazelles and the speed with which they rounded the bases had to give some horse racing fans the feeling they were at Chruchill Downs watching 3-year old Thoroughbreds run for the roses as opposed to Minute Maid Park watching baseball.