The White Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates put on an offensive showcase for the half-capacity crowd at PNC Park yesterday afternoon, racking up 14 hits each in what turned out to be a surprisingly spirited match up. Even more surprising was the fact that the Pirates actually won a game.

It started out normal enough: The Sox went up 2-0 in the first with runs driven in by a couple of singles from Paul Konerko and Jermaine Dye. But then the Bucs answered with two runs of their own to tie it up.

The game got even weirder. An Alex Cintron double brought in two Sox base runners to give Chicago a 4-2 lead, but Pittsburgh just kept right on scoring and actually managed to build up a lead—their first in at least a month—and take a 6-4 advantage by the sixth.

The Sox evened it up in the eighth inning when Jim Thome knocked a two-run dinger across the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers and clear into West Virginia. But the Pirates’ Freddy Sanchez got a walk-off homer against reliever Cliff Politte to give the hosts a 7-6 win.

Although Pittsburgh dropped the series 2-1 at home, the success-starved team was just happy to get a victory, any victory, they could. The win was so emotional for the Pirates that they celebrated around Sanchez when he crossed home like they’d just beat the Sox in the World Series.

“This is just so emotional for all of us,” Pirates manager Jim Tracy said after the game with tears of joy streaming down his face. “I’d like to thank Jesus for giving us the strength to push for the big ‘W’.”

Number of the day: 3
Games by which the Bucs—fresh off a 13-game losing streak—trail the Cubs in the NL Central.

heckler editorial staff