Sunday's 8-1 victory over the Mets, earned by Arquimedes Caminero as the Bucs broke a 1-1 tie after he replaced starter Jeff Locke following a 42-minute rain delay, was the Buccos bullpen's 16th straight winning decision, the longest such streak in the Majors since 1909, when Pirates relievers bagged 22 straight wins on the way to the franchise's first of five World Series championships.
"They stay ready, always looking for opportunities to help, to pick the last guy up," manager Clint Hurdle said.
Since that June 25 loss to Cincinnati, the Pirates have also won seven straight extra-inning games, and five walk-offs that have given them a total of 13 last at-bat wins. It is all testimony to a bullpen that became even stouter at non-waiver Trade Deadline time.
The Pirates rode a solid collective effort from relievers to strong first halves in both 2013 and '14, but the toll of a heavy workload became evident in the second halves of both seasons. The Bucs' quest for reinforcements did not grade well -- remember Kyle Farnsworth in 2013, John Axford in '14?
"It's just so important to have that veteran available to come in and pitch long in a situation like that," Francisco Cervelli said after catching Joe Blanton's three shutout innings in Saturday night's 5-3 win in 14 innings.
Touching all the bases • First: Hurdle kept center fielder Andrew McCutchen and shortstop Jung Ho Kang out of Sunday's lineup, notwithstanding ace Matt Harvey going for the Mets.