Pirates survive Arizona rally, win 9-8 in 15 innings
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Arizona Diamondbacks pulled off a rare rally against Pirates closer Mark Melancon before falling in the 15th to Pittsburgh.
The Diamondbacks capitalized on two errors to score two runs in the ninth against Melancon, who hadn’t blown a save since April to tie the game before losing 9-8 in 15 innings on Tuesday night.
Keith Hessler (0-1) gave up a two-out triple to Pedro Florimon in the 15th that scored the winning run.
“Everything was going good and then a couple mislocated pitches,” Hessler said. “That’s what happens.”
Cervelli singled off Keith Hessler for his fourth hit and Florimon hit a high fly ball to right field that clanged off the wall. The Pirates catcher had little trouble beating the throw to the plate with a tumbling slide, ending Pittsburgh’s longest game of the season.
“It was a good-fought game against a really good team,” manager Chip Hale said. “I don’t think too many teams come back on them like that, especially with Melancon on the mound so you just tip your cap to them for being able to make the plays at the end.”
Florimon popped up a bunt attempt in his previous at-bat, but ended the game in his next with his first career walk-off.
″(It) feels good to put something for the team win and I think that that’s the point,” Florimon said. “Everybody here is doing their job and we continue doing our job and playing good baseball.”
Pittsburgh scored two runs in the first inning against Pirates starter Francisco Liriano and another in the second. But Arizona right-hander Chase Anderson couldn’t keep the opposition down and the game was tied 3-3 after three innings.
The Pirates opened up a 8-3 lead by the seventh inning before the Diamondbacks rallied.
“The guys hung with it and when they got their shot, got some runs,” Hale said. “It just got into the extra innings and nothing really materialized for us.”
Paul Goldschmidt drove in two runs and tied the game off Melancon in the ninth. Aaron Hill had three hits for Arizona, which left 11 runners on base.
Ender Inciarte reached on an error leading off the ninth, Hill singled two batters later and Goldschmidt hit a hard grounder right at first baseman Sean Rodriguez. The ball deflected off Rodriguez and into the right-field corner, allowing two runners to score for Melancon’s first blown save since April 21.
Joe Blanton (5-2) pitched three innings of scoreless relief for the Pirates.
Liriano rediscovered his command after allowing the early runs, retiring 13 straight at one point, giving the Pirates time to get to Arizona starter Chase Anderson. Hale thought his hitters did a good job laying off Liriano’s pitches underneath the zone, but didn’t stay consistent in their approach even though.
“I thought early on we were taking that pitch and then we got a little pitch anxious and swung at too many balls down in the dirt,” Hale said. “But that’s him, that’s why he’s so good and he’s one of the best in the league.”
Pirates P A.J. Burnett is making small strides while he works his way back from a strained flexor tendon in his right (throwing) elbow. The 38-year-old Burnett will begin working off an incline in front of the pitcher’s mound as he attempts to regain strength. Manager Clint Hurdle said Burnett will steadily move his way up the incline in the coming days if there are no setbacks.
Arizona’s Robbie Ray (3-8, 3.29 ERA) looks for his first victory in nearly six weeks on Wednesday when the teams wrap up the three-game series. Ray has dropped four straight decisions since beating Texas on July 7 even though he hasn’t allowed more than four earned runs in any of his last six starts.
J.A. Happ makes his third start for Pittsburgh since arriving from a trade with Seattle. Happ is 0-1 with a 4.66 ERA with the Pirates and 4-7 with a 4.64 ERA on the season.