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Pirates beat Rox in extras

Jordy Mercer hit a walkoff double as the Pirates dropped the hapless, undermanned Rockies in eleven innings, 3-2.

Justin K. Aller

The Pirates got a strong start from Charlie Morton, which was fortunate because they could do little with Brett Anderson, who was making his second start after returning from a broken finger.  Morton dominated for six innings before finally making his only mistakes in the seventh.  He gave up a leadoff double to Nolan Arenado, followed by Carlos Gonzalez' ninth HR.  That turned around a one-run lead the Pirates had taken when Neil Walker and Gaby Sanchez hit back-to-back doubles in the fourth.  Morton departed for pinch "hitter" Michael Martinez in the bottom of the seventh, having allowed only five hits and a walk, with three strikeouts.  He wasn't hurt by the Rockies playing without Justin Morneau and losing Troy Tulowitzki in the fourth.

The Pirates' bullpen made like last year's, shutting down the Rox for four innings.  The effort began with Ernesto Frieri, who hopefully started down the redemption trail with a perfect eighth, including two strikeouts.  The Pirates tied the game in the bottom half after loading the bases with one out on two walks and a Russell Martin single.  Walker then came through with a single to tie the game, but Gonzalez cut down Andrew McCutchen at the plate easily to keep the game tied.  Clint Hurdle then actually used Mark Melancon in the ninth inning of a tie game.  Melancon responded with a five-pitch inning that included a strikeout.

Justin Wilson (who also had a five-pitch inning) and Jared Hughes kept the game tied through the eleventh.  Pirates' pitchers were helped throughout by the Rox' tendency to wipe out their own baserunners.  The Pirates turned four double plays and Martin cut down two base stealers, one after a challenge by the Pirates.

The good guys finally put the game away in the bottom of the eleventh.  Walker led off with a single and Chris Stewart, hitting for Hughes, bunted him to second.  The Rox intentionally walked Pedro Alvarez, but Jordy Mercer lined a double into the gap in left-center for a walkoff hit.  Adding to the goodness, the Brewers and Reds (and Cubs, for what it's worth) lost.