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Jacob Stallings' walk-off single completes 6-5, 11-inning win

Joe Sargent/Getty Images

In a game that took 11 innings, nearly five hours and (by my count) 44 players, forgotten rookie Jacob Stallings' walk-off hit led to a 6-5 Pirates victory.

The early innings were forgettable for Jameson Taillon, who gave up a bunch of hard-hit balls and three runs in the second. Taillon and Adam Frazier knocked in runs in the bottom of the inning, though, and the Pirates tied the game in the third thanks in large part to Andrew McCutchen's leadoff triple. Taillon, meanwhile, got himself under control and managed to stick around through five innings without allowing any more runs.

In the sixth, though, the Nats took a two-run lead. Antonio Bastardo allowed a leadoff homer to Wilson Ramos, then put two more runners on base before giving way to Jared Hughes. Again, it remains unclear why the Pirates continue to trust the obviously-untrustworthy Hughes with moments like that one, and true to form, Hughes gave up an infield single and then walked in a run to make it 5-3, Nationals.

The Pirates loaded the bases themselves in the bottom of the inning and did at least get one run on Frazier's sacrifice fly. But they were held silent in the seventh and eighth before facing old friend Mark Melancon down by a run in the ninth. McCutchen hit a one-out single, then got erased on Jung Ho Kang's force out. But Sean Rodriguez, who's come up big so frequently lately, tied the game with a double to center. The PNC Park crowd thus got to watch Melancon blow a save, as he'd done so infrequently in black and gold.

That carried the Pirates into extra innings, by which point they'd used a ridiculous percentage of the available players on their expanded roster -- Phil Coke, Zach Phillips, Eric Fryer and any number of other #ForgettablePirates had already come and gone. Tony Watson pitched the 10th and Wade LeBlanc the 11th. Francisco Cervelli doubled with one out in the bottom of the 11th, and the Nats intentionally walked McCutchen. That brought up Pedro Florimon, because what's the point of having Pedro Florimon on your roster if he can't pick up a plate appearance in a key situation in an 11-inning game. The light-hitting Florimon walked, much to his credit.

That set up a hero turn for Rodriguez, but he struck out, and up came LeBlanc's turn in the order. Stallings, who had been designated for assignment earlier in the season and wasn't even called up to the big leagues again until the middle of this month, was the only position player the Pirates had left. The catcher swatted a 3-2 slider to left for just his second big-league hit, and Cervelli came home to win it.

The Pirates improved to 77-76 with the victory.

Gregory Polanco, by the way, left the game after taking a flying leap into the left-field wall trying to make a play in the first inning. The Pirates say he has a facial contusion.