The Pittsburgh Pirates refused to retreat into the night Saturday as they won in 14 innings 6-5 over the St. Louis Cardinals at PNC Park. The Bucs lead the four-game weekend series 2-1 over the Redbirds.
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With their first walk-off home run victory this season, the Pirates are 52-35, and just 3.5 games behind the first place Cardinals (56-32). In nine match-ups this season, Pittsburgh is 4-5 against St. Louis. The crew of the Jolly Roger also improved to 5-7 overall in extra inning contests.
After Neil Walker had singled in the home half of the 14th, it was time for Andrew McCutchen to seize the victory. The All-Star center fielder blasted a 415-foot line drive to deep center off the Cards Nick Greenwood. McCutchen has hit safely in a career-high 18 consecutive games.
The Pirates kept battling back all night long. They tied the game up for the second time in the bottom of the 10th. Jung Ho Kang raced past second base to turn his double into a triple off St. Louis reliever Trevor Rosenthal. Chris Stewart hit a ground ball single to right to score Kang.
The first time Pittsburgh rallied back was in the eighth. Kang, who went 2-for-5, hit a ground ball single to right bringing McCutchen across the plate. Pedro Alvarez ripped a line drive single to center to drive in Kang.
The Bucs collected their first run in the fifth, when starting pitcher A.J. Burnett slugged his first home run of the season on a 385-foot shot to left center off Cardinals starter John Lackey. It was the fourth round-tripper of his career.
The star for the Cardinals was Mark Reynolds, who claimed his seventh home run in the first on a 410-foot line drive to left off Burnett. He hit his eighth homer on a 340-foot fly ball to left in the 10th off Deolis Gurerra. Over the course of the evening, St. Louis thought the had the game in hand with runs in the top of the third, fifth, and 14th innings.
Burnett battled over his six 2/3 innings for the Bucs as he allowed three earned runs on six hits. The 6-foot-4, 227-pound right-hander struck out six and walked three. The 38-year-old Burnett hurled 65 of his 112 pitches for strikes in dueling with 30 Cardinals. Through his 18 starts, he has given up just four home runs.
Vance Worley was the last man out of the bullpen for the Pirates, and he picked up his third win against four losses in pitching the 13th and 14th frames. The 27-year-old right-hander did give up one earned run on one hit in taking on eight hitters. He hurled 19 of his 28 pitches for strikes.
John Lackey surrendered only one earned run on five hits over his six 2/3 innings of work for the Cards. The 36-year-old right-hander struck out five and walked two in facing 28 batters. He is 1-1 in four career starts against Pittsburgh. Greenwood picked up the loss for St. Louis.
It was an early night for Pirates skipper Clint Hurdle and catcher Francisco Cervelli. Both thought that Reynolds had struck out on a Burnett curve ball in the second. Home plate umpire Vic Carapazza instead called it a foul tip. The next pitch from Burnett was the one that sailed over the fence. It was then that the pair was ejected for arguing again with Carapazza.
Up Next: The Cardinals and Pirates wrap up their four-game series Sunday at PNC Park. The Redbirds will send 24-year-old Tim Cooney (0-0, 3.95 ERA/1.32 WHIP) to the hill. The left-hander has thrown 12 strikeouts over 13.2 innings pitched.
Pittsburgh will hand the ball to 31-year-old Francisco Liriano (5-6, 2.99 ERA/1.01 WHIP). The left-hander has put up 119 strikeouts over 108.1 innings pitched. The contest is scheduled to start at 8:05 p.m., and it will broadcast nationally on ESPN.
From The Clipboard: The game lasted 5:04, and there were 37,318 in attendance at PNC Park…It was the 11th sell-out crowd this summer…The Bucs were 46-41 after 87 games last season…Coming into Saturday’s match-up, Andrew McCutchen ranked fourth in the N.L. in on-base percentage with a .394 mark, and eighth in RBI with 54…The All-Star break gets underway Monday. The Pirates return to action on Friday against the Brewers at Miller Park in Milwaukee.