Mercer's run-scoring double in 11th lifts Pirates over Rockies
The Pirates and Colorado Rockies might still be playing if Jared Hughes had not snagged Charlie Blackmon's blistering line drive in the 11th inning Saturday.
“I don't know if he snagged it or it snagged him,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said with a chuckle.
Hughes snared the hot shot, which triggered a rally-killing double play. In the bottom of the inning, Jordy Mercer's walk-off double lifted the Pirates to a 3-2 comeback victory against the Rockies.
Neil Walker snaked a leadoff single up the middle off Rockies reliever Chad Bettis (0-2). Chris Stewart sacrificed Walker to second base. Pedro Alvarez was intentionally walked. Mercer lined a 1-0 fastball into center field to win it.
“In moments like that, you have to slow down, take a deep breath and look for something to drive,” Mercer said. “It's so hard, because everybody's amped up. This is how we are. We grind out wins.”
Hughes (5-2) escaped a jam in the top of the inning. With runners on the corners and one out, Blackmon scorched a liner up the middle. The Pirates were in a shift, so the only thing between the ball and a big patch of center field grass was Hughes' mitt.
“(Blackmon) hit the heck out of it, and it went right into my glove,” Hughes said. “I didn't have any time to react. It just went in there. Even though I watched the replay, and it looked like maybe I moved my glove a little bit, I don't remember that.”
Charlie Culberson had strayed a few feet off the third base bag, so it was not a difficult play to double him up. Hughes tossed the ball to Alvarez, who made the tag.
“The ball was hit so hard, I think it took everyone by surprise,” Hughes said. “It's hard for the baserunner.”
Trailing 2-1 in the eighth, the Pirates loaded the bases with one out. Josh Harrison and Andrew McCutchen walked. Russell Martin singled in the hole between third base and short.
Walker lined the first pitch from reliever Tommy Kahnle into right field. Harrison scored, but McCutchen was thrown out by right fielder Carlos Gonzalez.
“The only way you're going to get McCutchen is to get it there in the air,” Hurdle said.
The Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning against left-hander Brett Anderson.
Walker rolled a double down the third base line. Gaby Sanchez, who has started four of the past five games at first base, hit a liner over the head of left fielder Corey Dickerson. The ball one-hopped the wall for a book-rule double, and Walker scored.
However, the Pirates didn't get any more traction against Anderson after Sanchez's RBI double. Anderson set down the final 10 batters he faced, six of them via strikeout.
Anderson went seven innings and notched eight strikeouts, two shy of his career high. He allowed four hits and walked one.
Nolan Arenado led off the seventh inning with a double to the gap in right-center field. Gonzalez then jerked a 2-2 curveball from Morton over the Clemente Wall to give the Rockies a 2-1 edge.
In his career against Morton, Gonzalez is 5 for 12 (.417) with two walks and four RBIs.
“The curveball's been there for me all year. I just didn't execute it there,” Morton said. “Plus, he's a good hitter.”
It was the ninth homer of the season for Gonzalez, who bounced back after striking out in all five of his at-bats in Friday's game.
Morton worked seven innings and yielded five hits. He walked one and struck out three.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates sign Corey Hart to 1-year deal
- Pirates notebook: New catcher Cervelli eager to bond with staff
- Pirates trade for left-handed reliever Bastardo
- MLB notebook: Pirates’ Liriano gets $2 million bonus as part of 3-year, $39 million deal
- Pirates notebook: Team ‘more relevant’ as Winter Meetings end