The Pittsburgh Pirates took advantage of some uncharacteristically sloppy play by the visiting Chicago White Sox and pulled out their second straight walk-off win Tuesday night, 5-4, at PNC Park.
The Pirates trailed 4-2 heading into the bottom of the eighth inning but scored twice in the eighth to tie the game and then won it in the ninth when White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal dropped a throw from pitcher Jimmy Cordero on what looked like a sure force out at the plate.
The Pirates loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth to set the stage for the walk-off win. Gregory Polanco singled to lead off the inning and Josh Bell followed with another single. Jason Martin then pinch-ran for Polanco, and both runners moved up on a wild pitch with Ke’Bryan Hayes at the plate. The White Sox then walked Hayes intentionally to load the bases and set up the force at any base.
The move looked like it would pay off as Kevin Newman hit a slow chopper to the left of the mound that Cordero fielded. But Grandal could not handle Cordero’s hard underhand toss to the plate, allowing Martin to score the winning run.
The Pirates, who enter the final third of their season at 14-26, will look to sweep the brief two-game set when the teams meet again tonight at 7:05 at PNC Park.
Rookie JT Brubaker will start for the Pirates, who are 10-10 in their last 20 games. Dane Dunning will get the call for the Pale Hose, who remain tied for first place with Cleveland in the AL Central.
In addition to the win, a few individual bright spots emerged for the Pirates. Bryan Reynolds, making his first start of the season in center field, made a nice running grab and threw out a runner at the plate.
Starter Joe Musgrove, in his second outing since coming off the injured list, looked solid in his four-inning sting.
He yielded three hits and two walks while striking out five.
Musgrove took a line drive to the ankle off the bat of Yoan Moncada with two outs in the third inning, but didn’t seem to be bothered by it as he struck out the side in his final inning of work in the fourth.
The Bucs’ fortunes took a turn for the worse after Musgrove departed. Dovydas Neverauskas replaced him in the fifth and after striking out the first batter, he yielded a double to Nick Madrigal.
Neverauskas earned a brief reprieve when Reynolds gunned down Madrigal at the plate on Tim Anderson’s single.
However, Anderson came around to score on Moncada’s base hit, and Grandal followed with a two-run homer to make it 3-0 in favor of the ChiSox.
The Pirates answered with two in their half of the fifth to cut the lead to 3-2.
With two outs and nobody aboard, Bell doubled and came home on Hayes’ triple. Hayes then scored on Newman’s single, and the Bucs trailed by just a run.
But Chicago tacked on another run in the eighth on Jose Abreu’s single and Eloy Jimenez’s double to right, which Polanco misplayed, allowing the run to score.
The Pirates rallied to tie the game with two runs in the eighth. Newman and Jacob Stallings hit consecutive doubles to lead off the inning and after Stallings advanced to third on Adam Frazier’s grounder to second, Erik Gonzalez drove in pinch runner Cole Tucker with the equalizer when he chopped a single over the head of the drawn-in shortstop Anderson.
The Pirates had a golden opportunity to push across the go-ahead run when Gonzalez stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. But Reynolds struck out and Colin Moran grounded out to first, leaving Gonzalez stranded at third.