Oh, what a relief it is. Yoslan Herrera gave up a three spot in the first and generally sputtered through five innings. After three, the Bucs were down 4-0. They had the Rockies right where they wanted them.
Jason Davis, John Grabow, Denny Bautista, Sean Burnett and Tyler Yates shut Colorado down over the final four frames and the Buc bats were busy enough to battle to a 6-4 win. Yates notched his first save as a Pirate, and Davis earned his first NL win.
Yates looked especially focused. Maybe the rush of being a closer suits him. As for Herrera, the Pirates are 3-1 in games that he's started despite his ERA and he probably showed just enough to make his next start Monday.
Luis Rivas had three hits, three RBI, and finished a home run short of the cycle, while Jay Bay and Nate McLouth, who made a great leaping grab to save extra bases and a run in the third, banged out a pair of knocks.
Dirtdog Mientkiewicz doubled home a run and Chris Gomez had a sac fly as the Buc bench is playing lights out against the Coors crew.
The sixth inning was worth the price of admission. The first two Rockies reached safely, exit Herrera, enter Davis. The obligatory sac bunt was an adventure, as Jose Bautista took a flop trying to snag it in the air, but threw out the runner from the turf.
With the infield in, the next batter spanked one to Jack Splat. The runner at second stormed down the line full steam ahead while the guy at third was anchored to the base. Wilson went for the tag-throw DP.
Except he dropped the ball. His flatfooted throw to first was a hair late. Bases loaded, one out right? Wrong. Dirtdog ran at the wayward runner from second, and eventually the Pirates ran him down as the runner at third stayed put.
Willy Taveras was up next, and he hit a swinging bunt to Joey Bats.
He had no play on the speedy Taveras at first, but the Colorado runner at third hesitated and then decided to go for the glory. Bautista kept his cool and flipped the ball to Ryan Doumit who chased him back up the line and got him on a diving tag.
That inning pretty much ran Colorado into its second straight defeat, and gave Clint Hurdle a few new gray hairs and another excuse to down a cold Coors Light or three after the game.
For a team without Xavier Nady, Damaso Marte, Matt Capps, Phil Doumatrait, Tom Gorzelanny, Adam LaRoche and Freddie Sanchez, they are playing with remarkable energy and determination.
How far that will carry Pittsburgh will be seen shortly when they embark on a killer road trip instead of facing the dregs of the NL at PNC. But we'll take it for now.