At the end of the day on July 30th, the Pittsburgh Pirates have the best record in all of Major League Baseball.
Now, read that sentence again, and this time, try not to shake your head in disbelief. The Pirates, pulsed by a sweep of a double-header from the Cardinals, now sport a 64-42 record on the year, and with that .604 winning percentage, they are now on pace for an incredible 98-win campaign.
In the opener, the Pirates got a stellar effort from AJ Burnett on the mound. Burnett tossed 7 innings of 1-run ball while striking out 9 against one of the better lineups in the league. With the exception of some time on the disabled list, Burnett has been a revelation this season, and Tuesday was no different, as he lowered his already-stellar ERA to 2.86 in the win. In addition to Burnett, the “hero” of the opening game was Alex Presley, who guided a walk-off single into center field that scored Russell Martin to break a 1-1 tie.
In the nightcap, things were a bit easier for the hometown team. Pittsburgh glided through a 6-0 victory, and while it was marred a bit by a suspenseful injury to Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, it was a stellar performance from the Pirates. Unknown pitcher Brandon Crumpton tossed 7 scoreless innings, allowing only 3 hits, and he passed things off to Jeanmar Gomez, who slammed the door on a 3-hit combined shutout. On the offensive side, Pittsburgh standout Andrew McCutchen added a 2-run blast, and continued his ridiculous .303/.374/.497 pace for the season.
Obviously, one successful day in July doesn’t make all the difference, but for the moment, the Pittsburgh Pirates are on top of Major League Baseball, and it’s been a long time coming.