Bucs now have their 'Immaculate Deflection'

Bucs now have their 'Immaculate Deflection'

PITTSBURGH -- It may quickly fade from memory if this season derails into another link in the Pirates' losing chain.

However, if 2013 has a brighter destination, the Bucs will have their own divine play to add to Pittsburgh's rich sports history.

We are, of course, talking about The Immaculate Deflection -- Sunday's eighth-inning smash by the Mets' Lucas Duda that caromed off the first-base bag, yet turned into an inning-ending and game-saving out in the Pirates' 3-2 victory.

When the ball descended out of the Citi Field air, it did so into the glove of alert second baseman Brandon Inge, whose bullet throw into the gut of pitcher Mark Melancon, alertly covering the base, ended the inning and stranded runners on second and third.

That's the part of the Immaculate Deflection that Pirates manager Clint Hurdle wants people to remember. It had nothing to do with luck, fates or destiny -- and everything to do with his players following through on the play.

"We finished the play," Hurdle said. "I was asked a lot of questions about that, but that's what nobody seemed to hear. I've never seen a ball hit a base and be an out. The pitcher didn't quit on the play. The second baseman didn't quit on he play. That speaks to something about our club, because I've been on clubs that when that ball's in the air, everybody stops and throws their hands up in the air.

"Where it goes, we'll see. I'm not big on omens. But we weren't lucky -- we finished the play."

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. Steven Petrella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.