Harrison lifts Pirates past Mets
What did Josh Harrison do on his scheduled day off? He went out and won a baseball game.
The legend grows.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle tried to give his super utility man a day off but summoned Harrison as a pinch hitter in the seventh. Harrison remained in the game and won it with a walk-off double in the 11th inning against former Pirate Vic Black, scoring Clint Barmes for the winning run in a 3-2 victory over the New York Mets.
“I know anytime I'm not in the lineup there's always a chance of going in, so I was ready,” said Harrison, who hit the first pitch he saw into the right-center gap. “You might only get one good pitch. Thank God I didn't miss it.”
Harrison was mobbed by his teammates and given a Gatorade shower by Andrew McCutchen and Gaby Sanchez.
“I asked him how he enjoyed his day off. He's soaking wet, a rundown, a walk-off. He's been on some kind of roll,” Hurdle said.
The Pirates (41-39) are two games above .500 for the first time since April 11.
Harrison nearly won the game in the 10th when he led off with a single and reached third with no outs by evading a rundown thanks to Barry Sanders-like stop-and-start moves. Where did he learn those evasive maneuvers? “That's probably something I learned in elementary school for fires: stop, drop and roll,” Harrison said.
Said Hurdle: “I was looking for a trapdoor.”
But as has too often been the case this season, the Pirates squandered a run-scoring opportunity. Travis Snider and Neil Walker struck out, and Russell Martin ended the threat with a flyout.
On a day when Jason Grilli was traded, Mark Melancon worked out of two-on, two-out jam in the top of the ninth, and Jared Hughes continued his efficiency, pitching a scoreless 10th and 11th.
Mark Melancon worked out of two-on, two-out jam in the top of the ninth, and Jared Hughes continued his efficiency, pitching a scoreless 10th and 11th.
The night was perhaps most important for Brandon Cumpton, who did not factor in the decision.
With Vance Worley pitching well and out of options, the decision on whom to send to Triple-A on Saturday to make room for Gerrit Cole, who is coming off the disabled list, likely comes down to Cumpton or Jeff Locke.
Hurdle downplayed the significance of Friday night's start for Cumpton (3-2, 4.61), but with Locke (1-1, 3.75) also pitching well, Cumpton did not hurt his chances.
Cumpton posted his third straight quality start. The right-hander pounded the strike zone, throwing 65 of his 92 pitches for strikes. Cumpton allowed two runs and six hits over seven innings. He walked one and struck out four.
“If you look back at all the absolute challenges we had two weeks ago, three weeks ago with the rotation, it has really not turned out that way,” Hurdle said.
Known as a groundball pitcher throughout his career, Cumpton had developed a trend of allowing more fly balls this year and had been fortunate to allow just one home run in his 45 innings pitched entering Friday.
Cumpton did a better job of keeping the ball on the ground Friday, inducing nine groundouts versus four flyouts.
The only damage Cumpton allowed came in the fourth when Ruben Tejada singled, Daniel Murphy doubled and the red-hot Lucas Duda plated both with a two-run single to the give the Mets a 2-0 lead.
The Pirates responded in the bottom of the inning.
With the bases loaded and two outs, Jordy Mercer ripped a single into center off Jacob deGrom to score McCutchen, who had singled, and Ike Davis, the former Met who reached on a fielder's choice.
Travis Sawchik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Sawchik_Trib.
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