PITTSBURGH (AP) The Pittsburgh Pirates inched themselves closer to first place, overcoming three deficits and two ejections.
Andrew McCutchen’s two-run home run in the 14th inning capped Pittsburgh’s third rally of the night and helped the Pirates beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-5 on Saturday night.
McCutchen’s homer to center off of Nick Greenwood (0-1) immediately followed Neil Walker’s leadoff single and extended his hitting streak to a career-high 18 games. It was his 12th home run of the season.
“Quite the climactic ending right there. That was a lot of fun,” McCutchen said. “Who would’ve thought it would’ve came down to that?”
Especially after Jhonny Peralta’s single off Vance Worley (3-4) in the top of the inning drove in Matt Carpenter to give St. Louis a lead.
Or after Mark Reynolds hit his second solo homer of the game during the top of the 10th.
Or even after Matt Carpenter scored the first of his three runs during the fifth inning to give the Cardinals a 3-0 lead.
“We had the lead three different times, and that’s something that doesn’t typically slip away,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. “But today was one of those days.”
Pittsburgh scored twice in the eighth on RBI singles by Jung Ho Kang and Pedro Alvarez to tie the game, and Chris Stewart singled in Kang in the 10th.
The Pirates have won seven of eight and 10 of 12. Pittsburgh, which has the NL’s second-best record, lost the first three games of the season series with the Cardinals in extra innings in May.
“We had grit all over,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “I’m proud, always been proud of these guys. Tonight was just another example with an exclamation point behind it. Grit, determination, perseverance, keep playing the game. When something doesn’t go right, you keep playing the game.”
With two outs and nobody on in the second, Reynolds appeared to have struck out – indeed, television replays showed he swung and missed at a 1-2 Burnett curveball. But home plate umpire Vic Carapazza ruled a foul tip.
Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli and Hurdle each briefly argued the call. After the next pitch, however, each became livid.
Reynolds homered down the left-field line, his seventh. Cervelli was ejected moments later. Hurdle and coach Brad Fischer came out to argue and restrain an incensed Cervelli. After several minutes of arguing with Carapazza, Hurdle was ejected by him.
“If you look at the video, it looks like maybe I got a seam on it or something,” Reynolds said. “I heard something and Vic heard something, I guess, and gave me a foul ball, gave me another chance.”
Carapazza declined to comment after the game. Crew chief Larry Vanover told a pool reporter that Carapazza made a foul ball call because he heard a tip. The ejection, Vanover said, was due to language.
TRIAL BY FIRE
The Cardinals announced the recall of pitchers Sam Tuivailala and Greenwood from Triple-A Memphis on Saturday afternoon. Several hours later, both were needed.
Tuivailala pitched scoreless 12th and 13th innings, and was in line for the win until Greenwood allowed each of the two batters he faced to reach and, ultimately, score.
The Cardinals added an extra arm to their overworked bullpen just for such a scenario.
“We knew we had to get someone to get us later in the game and then somebody top throw until it was over,” Matheny said. “And it was Greenwood’s game to throw – he’s done a nice job at Triple-A for us, and he’s done a nice job in the past. That was a tough spot for him to come into.”
Pirates LHP Francisco Liriano has allowed more than three runs in just three of his 17 starts this season. However, that lone occasion came at PNC Park against the Cardinals, whom he will face in a nationally-televised game Sunday night. Pittsburgh has lost both of Liriano’s starts against St. Louis this season.
Cardinals: 2B Kolten Wong left the game an inning after being hit by a pitch in the 11th. “His hammy had tightened up because of that hit by pitch so I had to get him out,” Matheny said. “It didn’t seem to be anything serious; just hit him in a bad spot that’s all.” . RHP Mitch Harris was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday after sustaining a right groin strain while warming up in the bullpen Friday night.
Pirates: OF Starling Marte returned to the lineup Saturday after missing the previous five games because of discomfort in his left side. The team leader in home runs, Marte batted cleanup and went 1 for 4.
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