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A series for the Pirates to build on

August 28, 2009 - Neil Rudel

I'm not suggesting the Pirates will contend in the National League Central next year.

But their three-game series with the defending World Series champion Phillies should give Pittsburgh room for hope.

For one (once :), the Pirates played extremely well against the Phils -- just as they did for most of the 7-2 homestand. And they did it in great atmosphere, where it seemed half of PNC Park was filled with Philadelphia red.

Thursday's 3-2 win was sealed by a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning by Garrett Jones, who is looking like a threat to hit it out every time up.

He's nearly as exciting to watch as Andrew McCutchen.

And down on the farm here in Altoona, the raves couldn't be louder for Pedro Alvarez, who could arrive in Pittsburgh as early as next year.

Jones and McCutchen had their fingerprints all over the latest series, and if the Pirates can play well in September, they'll carry some momentum into next year.


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