In their 60th one-run game of the year, the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Atlanta Braves and clinched their second-straight playoff appearance. Starling Marte had the game winning hit last year in the playoff clincher and pushed across the winning run in this game with a double in the top of the sixth. The win and a loss by the Milwaukee Brewers clinched the postseason for the Pirates. It is the fourth time in the franchise’s history they have earned back-to-back playoff berths. The Pirates fell behind 2-0 early in the game, but Gerrit Cole settled down as the game went along. His mound opponent, Alex Wood, was solid over 6.2 innings. Wood struck out six and walked two while allowing seven hits. However, it was Cole that would take the game over retiring the last 17 batters he faced. The Pirates showed some leather as well. Jordy Mercer made a great play in the hole with a jump throw from short to get Chris Johnson at first in the eighth. Evan Gattis grounded into a double play to end the eighth inning. Freddie Freeman represented the winning run at the plate in the bottom of the ninth and grounded into a game-ending double play. Andrew McCutchen who went 2-2 with two walks led the offense. He reached base all four times at bat. He scored the first run of the game for the Pirates on a throwing error in the top of the fourth. Travis Snider tied the game at two with a solo home run to lead off the fifth. The winning run came in the top of the sixth when McCutchen was brought home by the Marte double after McCutchen doubled off the end of his bat. The win moved the Pirates to 15-6 in September. They still have something to play for with home field in the Wild Card game or even the NL Central title on the line. Two games remain in the series with the Braves, but it is all about the celebration tonight for the Pirates.
Eagles Lineman Brandon Graham Fined more than Trent Williams for Unsportsmanlike Conduct in NFC Championship
Brandon Graham, a defensive lineman for the Philadelphia Eagles, attracted the wrath of the NFL on Saturday. According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, Graham was reportedly fined $13,261 for his unsportsmanlike behavior in the NFC championship game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Given that Graham was not punished for gratuitous violence throughout the competition, the news is unexpected. When the league watched the game’s video, which the Eagles won 31-7, it must have seen something the officials did not.