The Pittsburgh Pirates won a thrilling game last night to win their 90th game of the season. After a blown save in the bottom of the 8th inning, Starling Marte hit a dramatic go-ahead shot at the top of the 9th to give the Pirates a 2-1 lead. With the Chicago Cubs due the final at-bat, things were not yet over. A two-out hit reached shallow right field and staggeringly hit off Marlon Byrd's glove. Staggeringly, because Byrd has played some incredible right field since his acquisition a month prior. Only Andrew McCutchen got the ball in quick, Justin Morneau fed an amazing relay home and Russell Martin laid the tag before any damage could be done. The Pirates won, and the waiting game came next.
It turns out the wait was pretty short. In St. Louis, the Cardinals were up a run heading into the 9th inning against the Nationals. A cardinals win would give the Pirates a long-sought playoff berth, a Nationals win would prolong the wait but let the Pirates inch closer to a division title. Either outcome could've been celebrated. The Nationals went down quietly in the top of the 9th, sealing the Buccos' first playoff appearance since 1992. Anyone associated with the team or fans of the team had every right to celebrate. With the Pirates ending the longest sub-.500 drought in professional sports history this season, the playoff berth was further validation that the soul-crushing weight was gone, and the spirit-crushing wait for October baseball had gone bye-bye as well.
There are already a lot of words written on the Internet about this magical moment, and it would be fitting to include some of my own. Only there is no justice I could do to this feeling, this untold joy that now courses through the fanbase and team. So I'm just gonna give you a ton of pictures of the win and eventual celebration, because the guys on the field earned it and we as fans get to revel in their glory. This is all we as fans can ask for.
Join me after the jump, and Go Buccos:
And a GIF of Starling Marte's legendary home run via imokemp:
[Photo credit AP/ESPN]