The Pittsburgh Pirates, whose offense had been slumping all month, had one of the best days in the long history of the franchise on Friday. May 26, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Tucupita Marcano (30) celebrates with a toy sword in the dugout after hitting a solo-home run against the Seattle Mariners during the seventh inning at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

On July 11, MLB’s best players will converge upon Seattle’s T-Mobile Park for the. One day before that, the game’s best sluggers will partake in the Home Run Derby. Anyone who attended Friday night’s game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Seattle Mariners got a preview of what the Derby will look like.

The tone was set early.

Andrew McCutchen, the game’s first hitter, set the tone with a lead-off homer on the second pitch of the game.

That was the start of one of the greatest offensive games in the history of the Pirates, who have been a franchise since 1887.

Carlos Santana homered in the fourth inning for Pittsburgh. Jack Suwinski and Ke’Bryan Hayes did the same in the fifth inning, while Suwinski and Tucupita Marcano went deep for the Pirates in the seventh. In the eighth inning, Pittsburgh’s Bryan Reynolds joined the fun, hitting his seventh homer of the season and his team’s seventh of the game. 

That tied a franchise record.

The Pirates had previously hit seven home runs only twice before — in 2003 and 1947.

It wasn’t as though the Mariners were left out. They got long balls from Julio Rodríguez and J.P. Crawford. But the Pirates’ power was just too much to overcome, as Pittsburgh came away with an 11-6 win.

Baseball fans reacted to the Pirates’ power display.

And what was particularly notable about Friday’s game wasn’t just that it tied a franchise record, but that it came from seemingly out of nowhere.

May has not been a particularly kind month for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Entering Friday night’s game against the Seattle Mariners, the Pirates were 5-15 for the month. And the offense was the primary culprit.

Through the first 20 games of May, Pittsburgh had scored only 56 runs with nine home runs in May’s first 20 games. Those numbers look even worse when we remember that 21 of those runs and two of those homers came in a two-game stretch. In the other 18 games in May, the Pirates hit only seven homers and averaged less than two runs per game.

So, if anyone told you that they saw Friday’s outburst coming, that person is either a liar or someone you should try to get the next lottery numbers from.

[Justice delos Santos, Josh Rowntree]

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