The Pittsburgh Pirates could not summon the power of the Lumber Company again in the late innings on Sunday as it was the Diamondbacks who came back in the tenth to down the Bucs 3-2.
However, it was the eighth inning that had Pirates fans deeply concerned. Andrew McCutchen injured himself as he was driving in Josh Harrison with the tying run on a sacrifice fly to left field. He needed to be helped off the field and departed the game with what was disclosed as left side discomfort.
On Saturday, McCutchen had been struck in the lower back with a pitch by D-backs reliever Randall Delgado in the top of the ninth. He will undergo further evaluation on Monday, an off-day for the squad.
The contest came to a close in the bottom of the 10th as Mark Melancon, the fourth reliever to come in for Bucs starter Francisco Liriano, surrendered a one-out double to Tuffy Gosewisch, who advanced to third on the fourth-ball wild pitch to Nick Ahmed.
Andy Marte hit a sharp grounder to shortstop Jordy Mercer, who relayed the ball perfectly to new second baseman Jayson Nix to trigger a double play. Nix’s throw to first hit Ahmed’s upraised left arm as he was sliding into second, and that in turn gave Gosewisch the opportunity to score from third.
So, the contest came to a conclusion, not with a bang, but on a sigh of “really?” The umpires allowed the play to stand, the run went up on the scoreboard and a 5-5 road trip was in the log book for the Pirates.
Liriano had a solid outing as he gave up just two earned runs on four hits while walking one and striking six on 79 pitches over six innings.
D-backs starter Trevor Cahill gave up one run in the first but then settled down to strike out seven on 105 pitches over seven innings.
Brad Ziegler came in for Cahill in the eighth and it looked like Pittsburgh was ready to strike back. Harrison led off the frame with a single and made it to third on Gregory Polanco‘s double down the left-field line.
After McCutchen’s fateful sacrifice fly knotted the game at two, Planco was nailed at the plate as he tried to score from second on Michael Martinez‘s grounder to short. The home-plate collision was reviewed and the call on the field by the umpire was upheld.
The loss of McCutchen was quickly felt when he was due up in the batting order with a man on third with less than two outs in the 10th. It was pinch-hitter Gaby Sanchez who was struck out by right-hander Evan Marshall.
Pittsburgh opens a three-game homestand at PNC Park on Tuesday when they host the Marlins. The first pitch is set to go at 7:05 p.m. Miami will send lefty Brad Hand (2-3, 4.15 ERA) to the hill while the Bucs will go with Charlie Morton (5-10, 3.54 ERA)
The 30-year-old right-hander will be making his 23rd start of the season on Tuesday night. He has given up just three home runs in his last seven starts overall. The game will be broadcast by Root Sports Pittsburgh.