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Joel Hanrahan survives shaky ninth as Pirates snap seven-game losing streak

Sep 15, 2012, 5:48 PM EDT

Hanrahan AP AP

Joel Hanrahan‘s ninth inning against the Cubs this afternoon was painful to watch. Very painful. But the Pirates’ seven-game losing streak is over.

Hanrahan entered the bottom of the ninth inning with a 7-4 lead, but quickly gave up a double to Joe Mather and walked Darwin Barney. He got the first out of the inning after Anthony Rizzo flew out to right field, but then Alfonso Soriano singled to left to score Mather. After Starlin Castro flew out to right-center for the second out of the frame, Hanrahan walked consecutive batters to force in a run. But just before you could say, “here we go again,” Hanrahan struck out Dave Sappelt swinging to eke out a 7-6 victory. Ugly wins are better than an eighth straight loss.

Wandy Rodriguez allowed three runs (one earned) over six innings in the victory while Andrew McCutchen went 2-for-3 with a homer and two walks. The National League MVP candidate has four home runs in his last six games and 28 on the year. Neil Walker went 0-for-5 with a strikeout in his first start since August 26.

The Pirates now sit at 73-71 on the year, 2 1/2 games back of the Cardinals for the second Wild Card spot. They need nine wins in their final 18 games to ensure their first winning season since 1992.

  1. Stiller43 - Sep 15, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    I dont care about a winning season, just get it to .500 for f’s sake. They havent been good since i was 4.

  2. Brian Donohue - Sep 15, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    Strange position for them, they have to keep playing as if they have a shot at WC (they do b/c StL & LA are both acting as if they don’t want it) while also thinking about next year (again). Gaby was a clumsy acquisition b/c Jones is better at 1b than RF and has hit well; and they’re quasi-committed to Tabata now, with Marte as their best future commitment for LF. At the same time, they need a big bat to hit behind Cutch — at this point, teams are still answering, “Pedro” when asked to pick their poison of Cutch v. Pedro. And they need another quality starter, even if #1 pick Cole is ready to arrive in ’13.

    Another strange/questionable move was getting Snider at a painful cost (Lincoln had been their most versatile and effective pre-Hammer option from the pen) — he doesn’t seem to be settling in and his role is undefined.

    • florida76 - Sep 15, 2012 at 9:58 PM

      Actually, the Bucs are still a strong playoff contender, as strange as it sounds with the poor baseball they’ve played. If the Cards lose tonight, only 2 out, and that’s a small number this time of year. The season is far from over, we saw that again last year in MLB.

      In terms of a big bat behind Cutch, this has been the season Pedro has emerged, so that bodes well for the future. Also, in addition to Cole, the minor leagues has more quality arms on the way. The Lincoln for Snider deal was definitely worth the chance, Bucs need the offense.

      • dan1111 - Sep 16, 2012 at 2:06 AM

        Maybe on paper they are in the race, but they will have to do better than barely beating the Cubs (on their fifth try in eight days). Also against them is the fact that they don’t play either of the teams in front of them.

  3. stairwayto7 - Sep 15, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    Pirates about to go on a tear! I say they lose 4 games rest of season!

  4. mazblast - Sep 16, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    I’d love to see the Pirates sneak into the second wild card spot, but I’ll settle for 82 wins. I’m old enough to remember the glory years, but there are college freshmen who were born after the Pirates’ last over .500 season. That’s humiliating, almost as bad as being a fan of the Bengals.

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