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Relive the Pirates' top 10 moments of 2019

November 11, 2019

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates didn't finish 2019 the way they hoped, closing the year with a 69-93 record, but the team still provided plenty of games worth celebrating and remembering. Here's a look at ten of the best moments from last season: 1. “Hello, Newman!” Sept. 27 vs. Reds Eight

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates didn't finish 2019 the way they hoped, closing the year with a 69-93 record, but the team still provided plenty of games worth celebrating and remembering. Here's a look at ten of the best moments from last season:

1. “Hello, Newman!”
Sept. 27 vs. Reds
Eight of the Pirates’ 69 wins were walk-off victories, and six of those walk-offs were delivered by rookies. Kevin Newman was responsible for four, but he might not treasure any of them more than the Pirates’ final win of the season. In the AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh booth atop PNC Park, Greg Brown and Steve Blass were winding down the final telecast of Blass’ 60-year career with the Pirates. Then, suddenly, Newman launched a walk-off homer to give the Bucs a 6-5 win and spark a celebration that reached from the dugout to Blass’ seat in the booth. As Newman punctuated his excellent rookie season, Blass stood up and shouted, “Unbelievable! You can’t write this script! Thank you, you fabulous Buccos, thank you! What a send-off! Oh, my goodness! Hello, Newman!”

2. So long, Steve
Sept. 29 vs. Reds
The last day of the season was a tough one for the Pirates. They said goodbye to manager Clint Hurdle, who was surprisingly dismissed before their 3-1 loss to the Reds. But starter Trevor Williams took the time to engineer a pitch-perfect salute to Blass on his final day in the Pirates’ radio booth. Before throwing out the first pitch, Williams stepped behind the mound, peered up toward the press level and tipped his cap toward Blass. That gave fans the chance to applaud Blass, providing the beloved Pirates pitcher and broadcaster with the emotional send-off he deserved.

3. Welcome to The Show
April 20 vs. Giants
Shortstop Cole Tucker might have been called up before he was ready, the result of early season injuries to Erik González and Newman, but he certainly looked the part in his Major League debut. With a runner on second and storm clouds rolling in, Tucker crushed a two-run blast to center field that turned out to be the game-winning homer in the Pirates’ five-inning, 3-1 victory. With his family in attendance, Tucker became the first Pirates player to homer in his Major League debut since Starling Marte launched the first pitch he saw out of the ballpark on July 26, 2012.

4. Ring it
April 7 vs. Reds
We might remember the Pirates’ 7-5 win over the Reds for Chris Archer’s pitch behind Derek Dietrich or the Yasiel Puig vs. Pittsburgh brawl that broke out in the fourth inning, but Josh Bell delivered the biggest hit of all. Bell’s 474-foot home run over the batter’s eye, the fourth-longest homer on record at PNC Park since it opened in 2001, was a sign of things to come for the first-time All-Star and Home Run Derby participant. On his way to winning NL Player of the Month honors in May, Bell blasted two balls into the Allegheny River -- but neither sailed as far as this majestic shot against the Reds.

5. Newman’s walk-off walk
June 23 vs. Padres
Newman was responsible for half of the Pirates’ walk-off wins, and he did it in a variety of ways. There was the home run on Sept. 27, the single on Aug. 16, the double on April 6 and, of course, the 11th-inning walk-off walk to end this 11-10 win in 11 innings. What made this moment more remarkable? The Pirates overcame three-run deficits in the ninth and 11th innings, twice bouncing back from a win expectancy of 2% before their first walk-off walk since June 19, 2014.

6. “Bryan Reynolds things”
Sept. 4 vs. Marlins
Bryan Reynolds was often a human silver lining for the Pirates in the second half, an overwhelmingly positive storyline despite the club’s dismal finish. All his talents were on display in this 6-5 win at PNC Park, as he made two highlight-reel plays in the field and knocked a walk-off single to left. Williams appropriately summarized Reynolds’ night by noting that the Pirates had seen the rookie outfielder do those “Bryan Reynolds things” all year.

7. The Comeback Kid
June 19 vs. Tigers
Another comeback, another Reynolds highlight. In this 8-7 win over the Tigers, the Bucs battled back from a six-run deficit -- and each of Reynolds’ three hits played a part. It was Pittsburgh’s first win after trailing by six runs since July 12, 2008, against St. Louis, and Reynolds capped the wild rally with a three-run blast in the sixth inning.

8. Starling Marte walks it off
May 5 vs. A’s
This game best represented the resilience the Pirates displayed so often early in the season. They were dealt so many blows, primarily in the form of injuries and poor performances, but they managed to stay afloat until the All-Star break. In the 5-3 victory, they scored one run in the second inning then went silent until they fell behind in the top of the 13th, when reliever Tyler Lyons gave up two runs. Next thing you know, Marte -- on his way to one of his best overall seasons -- launched a three-run homer to send the Pirates home as winners.

9. Throwbacks all over
July 20 vs. Phillies
This was a day to celebrate, as members of the Pirates’ 1979 championship team -- Pittsburgh’s last World Series winner -- reconvened for a "We Are Family” reunion. And Joe Musgrove, Pittsburgh’s most reliable starter all season, delivered a suitably old-school performance in a 5-1 win over the Phillies. The right-hander allowed only two hits in six innings, showed his prowess at the plate with a double and slid head-first into home plate in front of a sellout crowd at PNC Park.

10. Moran, Moran
Sept. 5 vs. Marlins
This matchup and this game didn’t work out for the Pirates. At the end of the night, the Marlins beat the Bucs, 10-7, at PNC Park. But this was a moment bigger than one game or one season. When Colin Moran stepped into the box to face his brother, Marlins lefty Brian Moran, it was a matchup 119 years in the making. It was the first time since 1900 that a player faced his brother in a pitcher-vs.-batter scenario in his Major League debut, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, and it was only the seventh time since 1900 that a player made his MLB debut against his brother’s team. Brian Moran had overcome so much, waiting more than a decade since he was drafted to reach that stage, so why not make history while he was at it? How special was it? Even the stoic Colin Moran, after striking out against his brother, cracked a smile on his way back to the dugout.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.