The Pittsburgh Pirates got their ninth walk-off win of the season in the bottom of the 11th to down the Colorado Rockies 3-2 on Saturday night in front of a capacity crowd at PNC Park.
It was the second win in a row for Pittsburgh and they are tied for third place in the National League Central with Cincinnati as both squads have 51-46 records. The long time rivals are both 2.5 games out of first place as Milwaukee and St. Louis are tied for first with identical 54-44 records.
Jordy Mercer hit a double to left-center field that scored Neil Walker, who started the inning with a single against righty Chad Bettis. He had been moved over to second on a sacrifice bunt from pinch-hitter Chris Stewart. Bettis walked Pedro Alvarez to get to Mercer when the shortstop ripped his 15th double of the season.
Righthander Jared Hughes answered the call to the bullpen in the top of the 11th and closed the door on the Rockies by catching a Charlie Blackmon liner right back to him and doubled off Charlie Culberson at third. Hughes picked up the win and improved his record to 5-2.
Clint Hurdle’s crew put up a run in the bottom of the fourth when Gaby Sanches hit a ground-rule double off Colorado starter Brett Anderson on a line drive to left field which brought Neil Walker across the plate.
Anderson gave up just four hits and only one earned run while striking out eight on 110 pitches over seven innings of work.
The Bucs tied the contest in the eighth inning on Walker’s RBI single with the bases loaded. Josh Harrison and Andrew McCutchen both took walks from reliever Adam Ottavino to start the inning, and both tried to score on Walker’s hit to right field.
Harrison made it across home plate, but McCutchen was thrown out by right fielder Carlos Gonzalez for the inning’s second out. Pinch hitter Travis Snider could not work his magic two nights in a row as he struck out to keep the game knotted up 2-2 on the scoreboard.
Righthander Charlie Morton had a solid outing for the Bucs. He scattered five hits, walked one, struck out three while giving up two earned runs on 91 pitches over his seven innings.
Morton faced one more than the minimum through six frames, but Nolan Arenado sent a line drive double to center field on the first pitch of the seventh inning. The next batter was Gonzalez, who sent a 2-2 pitch over the right field wall to give the Rockies a 2-1 lead.
Ernesto Frieri, Mark Melancon, and Justin Wilson each worked one inning out of the bullpen before Hughes came on in the 11th.
The Bucs wrap up their three-game series at home with the Colorado Rockies on Sunday. The first pitch is scheduled at 1:35 p.m. Colorado will send lefthander Tyler Matzek (1-4, 4.97 ERA) to the mound while Pittsburgh will counter with Jeff Locke (2-1, 2.89 ERA).
The 26-year-old lefthander will be making his ninth start of the season tomorrow afternoon. He is 1-1 with a 1.86 ERA in his last four starts at PNC Park. The game will be broadcast by ROOT Sports Pittsburgh.
From The Clipboard: The victory was their 24th comeback win this season for the Jolly Roger crew…The Pirates have sold out eight of their last 12 home games. Attendence was 37,396…Following Sunday’s contest, Pittsburgh will host the Dodgers for three games beginning on Monday night.