The Pittsburgh Pirates played a roller-coaster game against the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday afternoon, and they ended up on top.
Travis Snider’s bases-loaded single in the 10th turned into a bases-clearing play on left fielder J.B. Shuck’s error, igniting a four-run inning as the Pirates converted a dramatic ninth-inning comeback into a 10-9 victory.
The comeback improved the Pirates record to 46-30 and made the win even sweeter as it completed the Pirates’ first-ever interleague road sweep, as well as their first sweep in a West Coast city since 2007.
Down three in the ninth inning, the Bucs jumped all over Angels closer Ernesto Frieri to tie the game. Neil Walker worked a leadoff walk and took third on a single by Gaby Sanchez, but a foul-out by Snider and pinch-hitter Andrew McCutchen’s fielder’s choice groundout pushed across one run.
Russell Martin’s pinch-hit RBI double and Starling Marte’s run-scoring single, both with two outs and two strikes, tied the game at six.
After Mark Melancon worked a perfect bottom of the ninth, Pedro Alvarez’ leadoff double got the Pirates started in the top of the 10th. A pair of walks loaded the bases with one out, when Snider lined a base hit to left that skipped past Shuck and all the way to the wall.
Martin delivered an RBI single to make it 10-6, but the Angels picked up three runs against Jason Grilli, the NL’s save leader. Grilli was able to strike out Mike Trout with runners on second and third to finish the game.
The game started off the way the previous two games started: with Alvarez hitting a home run in his first at-bat, giving the Pirates a 1-0 lead. The homer was Alvarez’ 19th of the year and his fourth in four games.The lead didn’t last long as Charlie Morton, making his third start of the year, would have a rough second inning, giving up five runs, although only two of them were earned.
2009 first-round draft pick Tony Sanchez made his major-league debut and got a double in his first at-bat in the second inning. However, that would be all the good news for awhile, as Joe Blanton settled down and – with help from reliever Scott Downs – the Angels would retire 15 straight Pirates hitters.
Duke Welker also made his major-league debut coming in the eighth inning and working a 1-2-3 frame. Welker had life on his fastball as he reached 97 mph twice and even 99 once.
The Bucs’ persistent attitude has not only made them fun to watch, but has proved successful as they are currently a season-high 16 games over .500. The Pirates will look to continue their West Coast success as they take on the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night.