On June 20, the Pittsburgh Pirates found themselves in third place in the National League Central, four games behind the division-leading St. Louis Cardinals, who at the time owned the best record in baseball. Less than two weeks later, through July 1, the Pirates sit atop the NL Central—two games ahead of the Cardinals—and own the best record in all of baseball with a mark of 44-30. Pittsburgh gained momentum by winning 10 of 11 games from June 18-30, a streak that includes nine straight victories.
While the Pirates’ offensive output as a team is near the league average in most major categories, certain players have stepped up in major ways to thrust the team into its first-place position. Andrew McCutchen has put up his usual outstanding numbers, with a .292 batting average, 42 RBI, and 16 stolen bases to go along with his incredible range in center field. Starling Marte, the team’s second-year stud, has also come into his own as the season has progressed—the 24-year-old outfielder owns a .288 batting average with 22 steals.
After sweeping the Los Angeles Angels, Seattle Mariners, and Milwaukee Brewers, the Pirates will next host the Philadelphia Phillies from July 2-4, before heading to Chicago for a weekend series with the Cubs from July 5-7.
As the final weekend before the All-Star break, take in America’s pastime by attending some other marquee MLB matchups (and promos and giveaway items) featured this Fourth of July weekend.
THURSDAY, JULY 4
Milwaukee Brewers at Washington Nationals – The debut of Neil Diamond’s “Freedom Song (They’ll Never Take Us Down)” will take place during the Nationals In-Game Military Salute
Tampa Bay Rays @ Houston Astros – Mini American Flag Giveaway for First 10,000 Fans
Miami Marlins @ Atlanta Braves – Fourth of July Fireworks / Postgame Performance by Country Singer, Corey Smith
Seattle Mariners @ Texas Rangers – Fourth of July Fireworks
Los Angeles Dodgers @ Colorado Rockies –Fourth of July Fireworks
St. Louis Cardinals @ LA Angels – Fourth of July Fireworks
FRIDAY, JULY 5
Detroit Tigers @ Cleveland Indians – Fourth of July Fireworks
Colorado Rockies @ Arizona Diamondbacks – Fourth of July Fireworks / D-Backs Stars and Stripes T-shirts for First 15,000 Fans
SATURDAY, JULY 6
Seattle Mariners @ Cincinnati Reds – Patriotic-Themed Jay Bruce T-shirt to First 20,000 Fans