Kovacevic: Vazquez vs. Harper and the beauty of big-time ball ☕


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Felipe Vazquez and Starling Marte celebrate the Pirates' victory Tuesday night in Philadelphia. - AP

PHILADELPHIA -- Fire everyone.

Do it for the dozen years of incompetence that have kept Pittsburghers from enjoying — no, rightly expecting — more magical mano-a-mano baseball moments like the one seen here Tuesday night.

Yeah, the Pirates prevailed over the Phillies, 5-4, and Steven Brault stayed sturdy, and Bryan Reynolds and Colin Moran homered, and Kevin Newman's hustle just might have forced the Philadelphia mistake that flagged home the decisive run in the ninth inning. I cover all that and more in another column I've filed.

But this finish, this singularly spectacular final out between Felipe Vazquez and Bryce Harper, possibly the ultimate left-on-left matchup available to Major League Baseball, this rises above anything that came before.

As Clint Hurdle would word it, succinctly as ever, "That's one of the better battles you'll see ... anytime."

Or, as Bryan Reynolds would tell me more colorfully, "There were actually some people in the stands I saw get up and leave. And I was thinking, 'What are you doing?' I mean, you've got these two guys going at each other, Flip throwing 101, and Harper up swinging for the fences ... yeah."


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