The Pirates are sometimes the beneficiaries of some very inventive baserunning by some of their players, most notably Josh Harrison and his stop-and-start creativity. The Pirates beat the Marlins, 3-1, on Sunday afternoon at PNC Park, and they nearly had at least a fourth run thanks to Andrew McCutchen.
With Pittsburgh up, 3-0, in the bottom of the sixth and the bases loaded, John Jaso chopped a grounder to first. Tyler Moore stepped on first and then fired home to retire McCutchen, who was chugging homeward from third base, but then ... this happened:
That's a strong effort to avoid the tag, and even though catcher J.T. Realmuto tagged McCutchen out to complete the double play, it's worth a closer look since he caught so much air:
Wow. What was McCutchen's thought process behind that decision as it developed, you might ask? As he told MLB.com's Adam Berry after the game, it was more of a reactionary move than anything else:
Pirates reliever Felipe Rivero, too, reached skyward for a play of his own in the ninth inning, springing up off the mound to retire Tomas Telis and lock down the four-out save:
After both McCutchen's attempt to hurdle Realmuto and Rivero's inspired hop, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle (pun not intended but definitely appreciated) was impressed with what he saw on the afternoon:
Somewhere, Stevie Wonder's proud of the Pirates and their attempts at reaching "Higher Ground."