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Postgame: Big plays, bullpen lead Pirates to 7-5 win

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Marte Update

Starling Marte was removed after striking out in the top of the fourth due to what the Pirates described as "severe dizziness."

"He had mentioned something before the at-bat," Clint Hurdle said. "But he felt good enough that he thought he could take the at bat. But it didn't pass and I think it intensified through the at-bat. We'll monitor him through the night and we'll see how he shows up tomorrow."

Triple Play

The Pirates pulled off the first 4-5-4 triple-play in major-league history in the second inning.

With runners on second and third, Neil Walker made a leaping grab on a Yadier Molina line drive and threw to third picking off Jhonny Peralta. Jung-Ho Kang, thinking the inning was over, started running to the dugout. But the crowd and both the Pirates bench and fielders stopped him in his tracks, as they were screaming for him to throw back to second.

Apparently, Jason Heyward also thought the inning was over because he was standing halfway between second and third. Heyward said after the game he figured the ball was caught by Walker, but assumed Walker stepped on second before throwing to third.

But when Kang realized what was going on, he turned around and threw back to second to complete the play.

"That was fun to watch," Hurdle said. "We got Kang's attention in time to finish it off."

Hurdle deadpanned that everybody in the dugout was yelling to Kang "in multiple languages."

"It was funny because when he made that catch I thought [Walker] was going to flip it to me, then he went ahead and threw it [to Kang]," Jordy Mercer said. "Then Kang took off towards the dugout and we were all screaming, ‘No, no, throw it to us,' but it worked out. It was real cool."

Walker didn't know about the historical significance of the triple play until he got back to the clubhouse.

"I looked for the ball to put my hands on it [after the game]," Walker said. "I don't know, maybe Kang's already sold it. I did make sure he didn't throw it in the stands. That's the one thing I wanted to make sure of, that we hold on to it here at the ball park. We'll see where it is tomorrow."

Mercer breaks through

On a night filled with a lot of big hits by Pirates, Mercer's double was the most dramatic and impactful.

In the sixth, the Pirates loaded the bases with one out and Pirates shortstop due up. While Mercer has struggled offensively this season, hitting .186/.253/.209, the surface numbers conceal the fact that he has hit into a lot of hard-hit back luck this season. Indeed, his line drive rate of 25.7 percent ranks in the top 20 percent of all position players and it is also the highest of his career. If somebody is ever "due," Mercer was and right on cue, he drove Seth Maness' first pitch to the center-field wall, scoring two runs and putting the Bucs in front.

"Obviously it's nice to see the ball hit the ground, no doubt about it," Mercer said. "But if you're consistently putting together quality at-bats up there and squaring the ball up, it's a matter of time before it happens. They can't catch every one of them."

"When you play the game there are ways to analyze it other than batting average," Hurdle said. "I tell these guys, if your constitution is tied to a base hit, that's an ugly place to live throughout your career. If you're only having fun when you do well you're going to miss more than half of your career. I think he's embraced that."

The Bullpen

The Pirates bullpen was excellent tonight. Rob Scahill, Jared Hughes, Tony Watson and Mark Melancon teamed up for four shutout innings which gave the Pirates room to regain and hold the lead.

"Everybody went out there and made their pitches tonight," Hurdle said. "Everybody's confidence takes a little ratchet up. Good for us. Good for us tonight."

Worley's fifth inning

After giving back a three-run lead in the fifth inning by allowing five runs in the fourth, Vance Worley came out and pitched an important shutdown inning in the fifth, which allowed Hurdle to preserve his bullpen and use a pinch-hitter for the pitcher's spot in the bottom of the inning.

"To go back out there in the fifth inning and put up a zero, there was not much wiggle room," Hurdle said. "For him to be able to last and give us what he got [was important], we were able to battle back."

Worley said that he went back in the dugout after the fourth and changed his jersey and refocused for the fifth.

"I had to get all the sweat off," Worley said. "I had three jerseys tonight. I talked to myself and said, ‘It's just one inning, it's up to me to go back out there and keep these guys in it and give them a shot.' And I went out there and made some pitches and got the win."