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Pirates fail to bring home tying run in 9th, lose 6-5

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates loaded the bases with no outs against Trevor Rosenthal in the ninth, but couldn't bring home an extra run and ended up losing 6-5.

With the help of a Pedro Alvarez throwing error, the Cardinals scored four runs against Charlie Morton in the first inning, mostly on a series of line-drive singles. It looked like the Bucs might simply wilt away their day on ESPN's national stage. In the fourth, though, Ike Davis walked with one out, and Jordy Mercer homered to left. The Pirates then added another run in the seventh on a single, a walk, and then a line-drive Alvarez single that cut the lead to 4-3.

Bryan Morris entered in the eighth and gave up two ground-ball singles. He then whiffed Mark Ellis, but gave up another single to Peter Bourjos to bring home a run. A wild pitch added another, and the Cardinals were up 6-3.

Davis and Mercer led off the bottom of the inning with two straight hits, and Tony Sanchez brought home Davis with a grounder as the Pirates cut the lead to two. But the real drama came in the ninth. Neil Walker hit a way-out-of-the-zone Trevor Rosenthal fastball for a leadoff, ground-rule double. Then Andrew McCutchen singled up the middle to score Walker, and Pedro Alvarez added a single of his own. Up came Clint Barmes, who looked like a sure double-play candidate, but Rosenthal made that irrelevant, missing the strike zone on four straight pitches to load the bases with the Bucs down only one.

Unfortunately, Davis popped up the first pitch he saw (an awful outcome in any circumstance, but particularly given Rosenthal's struggles to throw strikes), and then Mercer hit a weak grounder back to Rosenthal for the game-ending double play. Mercer in particular was a big reason the Pirates were in the game in the first place, and it was great that the Pirates fought back, but both the Davis and Mercer at bats at the end were extremely frustrating. The Pirates took two of three from the Cardinals anyway, but a sweep really would have helped them as they attempt to crawl back to .500.