Playoff baseball returned to the Steel City in a big way on Tuesday night. The Pittsburgh Pirates, by and large embarrassments to the town for two decades, took down the Cincinnati Reds, 6-2, to advance from the wildcard and into the divisional round of the playoffs.
The game served as the first postseason win for the Bucs since 1992. When you go that long in-between good years, there are bound to be some mind-boggling stats, and Tuesday’s monumental win served as no exception.
TV Time: The Pirates-Reds game earned an insane 33.7 overnight rating. The mark is easily the highest ever for a Major League game in the Pittsburgh market.
Not the World Series … yet: Tuesday served as the 110th anniversary of the very first World Series game. Who won? Pittsburgh, of course. The Pirates defeated Cy Young’s Boston squad, 7-3.
It’s all About Pitching: Francisco Liriano sparkled on Tuesday, but the performance of Deacon Phillipe 110 years ago was incredible. While Boston won the first World Series, 5-3 (yes, 5-3!), Phillipe set a record with a whopping five complete games pitched.
Chicks Dig the Long Ball: Marlon Byrd’s home run in the bottom of the second was the first Pirates postseason long ball since Lloyd McClendon (a former Pirates manager) bashed one in Game 6 of the 1992 NLCS.
Byrd’s Flying High: Byrd played in 1,250 regular season games before making his first postseason appearance on Tuesday – and he belted his homer in his first at-bat. That is the second-most games played before a first at-bat postseason home run since Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson. Robinson hit his first postseason dinger in his first time at the plate after 1,406 regular season games.
More Taters: Only two players have ever hit multiple home runs in a playoff game in Pittsburgh. Russell Martin did it on Tuesday, joining Mickey Mantle, who pulled off the feat in Game 2 of the 1960 World Series.
Martin is Money: Martin is now the only catcher in MLB history to hit multiple home runs in one playoff game for three different teams. He also has multi-homer postseason games for the Yankees and Dodgers.
One Last Long Ball: Tuesday’s game served as the first post-season three-homer game for Pittsburgh since Game 7 of the 1960 World Series against the Yankees.
Seeing Red: Tuesday’s game was the sixth time the Pirates and Reds have met in the postseason, along with 1970, 1972, 1975, 1979 and 1990. That is the third most of any two opponents in the Majors. The Yankees and Dodgers have met 11 times, and the Yankees and Giants have met seven times.
Lots of Red: The wildcard contest was officially the 21st time Pittsburgh and Cincinnati have met in the postseason. That is the second-most between two National League teams ever. The Dodgers and Phillies have met 22 times.
Salary Issues: The last time Pittsburgh was in the playoffs, the highest-paid player in the game was Ryne Sandberg at $7.1 million annually. Nowadays, teams will give their fourth-best pitcher that kind of money.
Mo’ Money Problems: The Mets paid Bobby Bonilla $1.2 million this year as part of a (very) deferred contract settlement. That is more than 13 current members of the Pirates.
Back to the Future: With the Pirates advancing to the divisional series, they crash headlong into another NL Central rival, St. Louis.
The series will serve as the very first playoff meeting between the two franchises … ever.