Short-handed Pirates come back to beat Cards
ST. LOUIS — A short-handed bench didn't stop the Pirates from producing enough late-game offense Saturday to get past the St. Louis Cardinals, 5-3.
The Pirates scored four runs in the seventh inning to erase a two-run deficit. They sent nine batters to the plate, including pitcher James McDonald, who was called upon as a pinch-hitter.
“Pinch-bunter,” McDonald corrected with a laugh.
Bunts, hits ... at this point, the Pirates will take whatever they can get. Neil Walker and Travis Snider are out with injuries, leaving just a three-man bench.
Walker sustained a deep cut to his hand Friday, and is expected to miss at least a week. Snider was scratched shortly before the game Saturday due to what the team described as “discomfort” in his right side.
“We had a three-man bench today, and we'll probably have a three-man bench (Sunday),” manager Clint Hurdle said. “We'll try to wade through it one day at a time.”
Jake Westbrook blanked the Pirates for six innings, but his chance to pick up a victory evaporated with the first five pitches thrown by reliever Joe Kelly (0-1).
Pedro Alvarez began the seventh with a single to center. On the next pitch, Russell Martin homered to right, tying the score at 2.
“I'm always aggressive, unless it's somebody I've never seen before,” Martin said. “I took my best swing, and it just took off.”
Clint Barmes singled. McDonald struck out on a bunt attempt. Starling Marte walked.
Trevor Rosenthal replaced Kelly. Rosenthal began the day ranked third among NL relievers with 17 strikeouts, but his control was erratic on a chilly, wet afternoon.
Rosenthal threw a wild pitch and took the count to 3-2 against three straight batters. Jose Tabata was hit by a pitch. Andrew McCutchen walked, which forced in the go-ahead run. Garrett Jones grounded out, scoring Marte from third.
“Every game has been a battle so far,” winning pitcher A.J. Burnett (2-2) said. “I'm trying to hit that groove.”