Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Lest We Forget, He's Still the MVP

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Lest We Forget, He's Still the MVP

Article excerpt

ATLANTA -- Pirates catcher Russell Martin said it was his best moment as a ballplayer, the three-run home run he hit Friday night to beat the Milwaukee Brewers at throbbing PNC Park. He said it was better than even his home run off Cincinnati Reds starter Johnny Cueto in the playoffs last season.

Pirates pitcher Jared Hughes described the three-game weekend series against the Brewers in front of three sellout crowds as "September baseball at its best ... Man, that was fun!" The Pirates took two of three to take a huge step toward the postseason for a second consecutive year and all but bury the Brewers in the wild- card race.

It is easy to play in those games with so much at stake for each team, with every pitch critical.

But the game here Monday night?

Not so much.

The Pirates faced an Atlanta Braves team that had lost eight of its previous nine games, was eliminated Sunday from wild-card contention and had fired general manager Frank Wren earlier Monday. There was hardly anyone at Turner Field for the festivities. Think PNC Park in September 2010, when the Pirates were on their way to 105 losses, or Three Rivers Stadium in September 1985, when they would finish with 104 losses. There was no buzz.

The Pirates had to work extra hard to generate their own juice on this rather forgettable night at the ballyard.

Who better than Andrew McCutchen to provide it with a sixth- inning home run in a 1-0 win that nudged the Pirates a little closer to a home wild-card game Oct. 1 against the San Francisco Giants?

Who more appropriate than McCutchen?

Martin could run for mayor in Pittsburgh and probably would win. He has had that kind of phenomenal season. He has been so good that a lot of Pirates fans want the team to pay him whatever he wants to keep him from becoming a free agent after this season.

Josh Harrison is right there with Martin in terms of popularity in our town. …

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