Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle had a speaking engagement for 6:30 and dinner with his family two hours later. Both were in jeopardy.
With Sunday afternoon’s game in the 11th inning and runners on the corners with one out, the defense shifted into double play depth.
“You’re gambling,” Hurdle said. “You’ve got the game on the line.”
The result was an inning-ending double play and Jared Hughes, pumped his fist from the mound after the play unfolded.
“When the ball goes off the bat there are all kinds of worries standing out there, but when I turned around, it was within reach but it was a hard ball to turn two on,” Jared Hughes said.
The Pirates were looking for its 26th series win of the season and got that in the 11th inning when Josh Harrison hit a game-winning single off Tyler Thornburg.
In the top of the 11th inning, Harrison misread a flyball but kept it in front of him which allowed for there to be a double play possibility. The batter was Scooter Gennett who hit the ball to Neil Walker who ranged over and flipped to Jordy Mercer who was able to make the turn to the approval of the 34,740 in attendance.
“It’s all about preparation, I hadn’t had a play like that really this year, but that’s why you work on it,” said Walker.
The 7-6 win is the 11th extra inning victory for the Pirates this season and Harrison earned his fifth career walkoff and second of the season.
A two-run first inning placed the Brewers ahead as Jason Rogers singled. Francisco Liriano was charged with an error on the play which allowed a second run to score. Rogers was credited with one RBI.
Pedro Alvarez put the Pirates within a run when a 3-1 Taylor Jungmann fastball carried over the center field wall into the Brewers bullpen. The home run gave the Pirates 74 consecutive games with at least one extra-base hit.
The Brewers knocked Liriano out of the game in the third inning. Khris Davis hit a home run, his 20th of the season which also scored Ryan Braun. Elian Herrera added a double, his 17th of the season plating Rogers. Liriano threw 2.1 innings, his second-shortest outing of the season and allowed seven hits. Four of his five runs were earned.
“I wasn’t getting ahead in the count and I was missing my fastball in the middle,” Liriano said. “I made too many mistakes today.”
Hernan Perez added single for the Brewers off Joe Blanton to make the score 6-1 in favor of the Brewers.
In the fourth inning, Jung Ho Kang singled and Cervelli walked. Pinch-hitter Travis Snider then recorded his 11th double of the season scoring both and giving him three RBI in the series. Mercer then hit a sacrifice fly cutting the deficit to two runs.
With Jungmann out of the game, Jeremy Jeffress pitched the seventh inning for the Brewers.
Harrison reached base by error and when Walker singled, there were runners on the corners. Andrew McCutchen recorded his 92nd RBI of the season with a single and Jung Ho Kang followed with a single of his own which tied the game.
The Pirates won the game in the 11th inning. Pinch-hitter Travis Ishikawa and an error by Shane Peterson allowed him to advance 90 feet.vMercer grounded out advancing pinch-runner Pedro Florimon to third. Sean Rodriguez was then hit by a Thornburg pitch. Harrison’s single ended the game.
“You definitely like being in those situations,” said Liriano. “Anytime you’re in a situation to win the game, you want to be the guy. Anytime you are not the guy you are rooting for the guy that is up there. It’s been a lot of us this year that have come through and that’s what makes us so good.”
Hughes [3-1] picked up the win and Thornburg [0-1] suffered the loss.
A big moment in the game for the Pirates was Arquimedes Caminero throwing two shutout innings after Liriano had an early departure and Blanton surrendered the additional run.
“I wanted to keep our team in the fight,” Caminero said.
The Pirates have a day off, its only one of the month before facing the Chicago Cubs in a day-night doubleheader on Tuesday. Gerrit Cole [16-8 2.54 ERA] faces Jason Hammel [8-6 3.59 ERA] in the first game. Cole will make his 29th start of the season after being skipped the last time through and is 2-1 with a 2.13 ERA in his last four starts. J.A. Happ [5-1 1.79 ERA] will take on Jon Lester [9-10 3.50 ERA] in game two. Happ is making his 28th start of the season and has surrendered a total of four runs in his last six starts.
Photo credit: Pirates Twitter