Pittsburgh Pirates closer Mark Melancon came in for the ninth inning to close out the latest come-from-behind game, this time over the St. Louis Cardinals — and, at Busch Stadium, something made him feel at home: his typical entrance music, AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck.”
What followed was a scoreless inning (extending his shutout streak to 20.1 innings), good for Melancon’s 26th save of the season and for a 7-5 Pittsburgh win.
The Pirates have made a habit of coming back late. Tuesday, they found themselves trailing 5-1 after four innings.
Pittsburgh starter Jeff Locke was pulled after those four innings, giving up all five runs on eight hits. Locke, who entered the game a winner of three consecutive starts and seven of his past nine, earned a no-decision and saw his ERA rise from 5.13 to 5.38.
Locke was given an early 1-0 lead to work with on a first-inning, first-pitch home run from first baseman David Freese, but Locke squandered it. First, he gave up a third-inning solo homer to Aledmys Diaz, tying the game, and then came a four-run fourth inning.
In the fourth, Jedd Gyorko started the damage with a one-out single, which was followed by a Jaime Garcia sacrifice fly, a Kolten Wong single (which counted after a challenge by the Cardinals) and a Diaz single.
The Pirates needed something to get back into the game — and that ended up being right fielder Sean Rodriguez.
Rodriguez wasted no time rising to the occasion when he led off the fifth inning and took Garcia’s first pitch fastball over the left-center field wall for Rodriguez’s seventh home run of the season. Suddenly, the Pirates were re-energized.
His defense in right field also helped keep Pittsburgh in the game. Here’s the best play of the night:
— #VOTEMARTE (@Pirates) July 7, 2016
Rule-5 Draft selection Matt Bowman then came in to pitch the sixth inning for the Cardinals. Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison singled to center field, scoring center fielder Andrew McCutchen. Rodriguez then added a single to right field, plating third baseman Jung Ho Kang.
Cardinals reliever Jonathon Broxton has had his troubles with the Pirates, and this was the case once again Wednesday when he pitched the seventh inning. Kang recorded a one-out double, allowing both Freese and McCutchen to score. Harrison contributed the seventh and final run when he reached base on a fielding error.
Pittsburgh reliever A.J. Schugel (2-2), who came in for the sixth inning, picked up the win, retiring the side in order.
The Pirates will go for their second consecutive series sweep Thursday. Prized Pittsburgh prospect Tyler Glasnow (7-2, 1.98 ERA in Triple-A Indianapolis) will make his debut against the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright (7-5, 4.70 ERA).
LHP Steven Brault was sent down to Triple-A Indianapolis prior to Wednesday’s game, and the Pirates added to their bullpen, calling up reliever Kyle Lobstein. This is the fifth time Lobstein has been a part of the Pirates’ roster this season. He has a 2-0 record and a 3.96 ERA in 25 innings of work.
Head major league athletic trainer Todd Tomczyk told reporters that catcher Chris Stewart’s MRI(left knee discomfort) displayed general wear and tear, which may require surgery. If this occurs, Stewart’s season would more than likely end. Stewart has played through injury this season and hopes to continue to do so. This would require a rehab assignment before rejoining the Pirates.
Image credit: MLB.com