"Let's do it again!" was the call out exclaimed from an unknown voice at my end of the Pirates' dugout. This was during the inning break in the middle of the 11th, Francisco Liriano sulking on the bench by himself after giving up three in the top of the inning.
I chuckled a bit to myself, hearing it, knowing that a second three-run comeback over a thre- inning span was not the most realistic of expectations. They had just done as much in the ninth to extend the game.
Don't tell the youth-infused dugout that, though. Even without Cole Tucker's presence, it's a dugout bubbling with positivity and energy and guys who just want to prove they belong.
Spoilers: Pirates did it ... twice ... and beat the Padres, 11-10.
During the first comeback, a three-run effort in the ninth inning, Melky Cabrera made his first real mark on the game. The Pirates had runners at first and second, down a run, and Starling Marte advanced the runners for Josh Bell. Naturally, Bell was walked with first base open and the game in balance. Melky stepped to the plate.
Cabrera, 1 for 6 on the day turned evening, didn't get his hit there, but he did tie the game by driving in Kevin Newman. As important as that moment was for each Pirate, their best was two innings away.
Fast forwarding now to the bottom of the 11th for the second such comeback ... Cabrera again stepped to the plate, this time with Bryan Reynolds and Bell manning second and first respectively. This time, Cabrera got his hit. A double full of hustle scored Reynolds, put Bell on third and put Cabrera, the game's tying run, in scoring position.
At this point, last resort pinch-hitter Jacob Stallings was asked to come up big -- and he did. The most impressive piece of this game-tying single by Stallings wasn't the piece of hitting itself, though. Not to take his left-field-line single lightly, but the hustle from 34-year-old Cabrera to score from second with a reviewed-and-upheld headfirst slide on Stallings' single ... well, that was special to watch.
Cabrera stayed lying on home plate for a moment -- what I believe was just letting the moment breathe. He stood up, touched home again, made his way through the dugout, the parade of celebrations and then the end of the bench where he made eye contact with the cameras documenting his tying effort.
Cabrera crouched behind the dugout bench, I thought being playful with the cameras showering him with attention, and then collapsed to his back on the dugout floor littered with sunflower seeds, bubblegum wrappers and Powerade cups. Turns out, the big guy was just gassed from his back-to-back hustle plays.
That's when I captured the image you see up top of this View from the Dugout -- Melky Cabrera lying on his back, supporting his head from touching the ... clean ... ground, and taking in the moment.
After that image, there's his hit, arrival at second and the offering of water by his teammates enticing Cabrera to get off the ground.
Of course, after Melky's dramatic run: Jose Osuna singles, Elias Diaz walks, Adam Frazier pops out and Newman walks in Stallings ... just how they drew it up.
Photos from the rest of the scene and celebration follow what I have of Melky up there -- including Robby Incmikoski ruining a perfectly good chance at Newman catching bubble gum in his mouth. See you guys and gals in the comments.