Pirates pitch well, get 3 runs in ninth to seal 4-1 win

Mike McGinnis

The Pirates scored three runs in the ninth to take the second game of their series against the Brewers, 4-1.

Francisco Liriano was excellent, striking out seven batters in six innings while facing an all-righty lineup. Unfortunately, Willy Peralta matched him frame by frame. The Pirates got one run in the fourth when Andrew McCutchen walked, Pedro Alvarez hit a ground-ball single, and Jose Tabata brought home McCutchen on a groundout. But the Brewers got one back the next inning when Khris Davis led off with a double, moved up on Ike Davis' error and came home on a sacrifice fly.

Given the Pirates' usual troubles in Miller Park, it still felt like the Pirates were destined to lose despite the 1-1 tie. Bryan Morris got through the seventh and Tony Watson the eighth, though, and then the Bucs came up against Francisco Rodriguez in the ninth. Ike Davis singled with one out, and Jordy Mercer moved him up with a single of his own.

Clint Hurdle then replaced Davis with Clint Barmes, an interesting move given that Barmes isn't exactly a burner and that the move would force Hurdle to put Barmes at first in the bottom of the inning. (In a parallel universe, maybe the Pirates are currently in the 17th inning with Barmes still at first.) It worked out perfectly, however -- Chris Stewart (!) lined a single up the middle, and Barmes beat the throw home by a couple feet. And honestly, I would have been fairly comfortable with Barmes playing defense at first base for several innings. The only problem is that he would still have to hit.

Anyway, then Starling Marte (yes, Marte -- he had entered earlier in the game) came to the plate and hit a fly ball to deep center. Elian Herrera (who was there because of Carlos Gomez's suspension) just kind of watched it, and two more runs came home. Mark Melancon recorded the save in the ninth. Barmes was involved in several plays that inning at first, and as you'd expect from a player who typically plays a much more demanding infield position, it went fine.

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