The Pirates tied the game in the 8th inning and headed to the 9th tied at 2. John Axford got Pedro Alvarez and Josh Harrison to ground out to start, but Rod Barajas decided it wouldn’t end there. He singled to center field, and Axford’s lack of command walked pinch hitters Michael McKenry and Gaby Sanchez to load the bases. Alex Presley then watched 3 strikes to end the Bucs’ chances of scoring and go to the bottom of the 9th.
Joel Hanrahan came in to pitch the bottom of the 9th, a non-save situation since it was still tied at 2. Corey Hart deposited Hanrahan’s 2nd pitch over the left-field wall. “It was a hanging breaking ball, poorly executed,” an extremely disappointed Hanrahan said after the game. “It’s bound to happen at some point. I think that might be Corey’s first hit off me.”
AJ Burnett didn’t give up a hit until the 6th inning, allowing 1 run to score in the 3rd after Carlos Gomez walked, stole 2nd and 3rd, and scored on a wild pitch. “Obviously it wasn’t catchable,” Clint Hurdle said. “There was nothing we could do about it.” Burnett gave up another run in the 7th on a 2-out RBI double by Carlos Gomez after walking Corey Hart. “I don’t think he ran out of gas,” Hurdle said. “I think he really gave us the start we needed.” Jared Hughes came into finish the inning and needed 1 pitch to get Jean Segura to ground out and end it. Jason Grilli threw a scoreless 8th, not allowing the leadoff batter to score after reaching 2nd base with no outs. Joel Hanrahan pitched the 9th, of course, and received his 1st loss of the year. “I thought he gave us the best chance to hit again,” Hurdle said of his decision to put Joel in. “That’s the last thing you’re expecting. He’s very competitive. He always expects the best out of himself.”
Pedro Alvarez hit his 27th homer of the season, his 4th this week, to put the Pirates up 1-0 in the 2nd. The tying run in the 8th came on an RBI single by Andrew McCutchen, one of 2 hits on the night. The hit scored Brock Holt, who had a pinch-hit walk in his major league debut. The Pirates struck out 13 times tonight. Three of those were looking strikeouts with 2 outs and runners on. “We had plenty of opportunities to capitalize with runners in scoring position, and we weren’t able to do it,” Hurdle said. “At the end of the day, we didn’t do enough things to win.”
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the win tonight,” Brock Holt said. “But that’s why there’s tomorrow.”
James McDonald (12-6, 3.57 ERA) will start tomorrow’s 2:10 game. He will face Yovani Gallardo (14-8, 3.52 ERA).