McCutchen homer in 12th gives Pirates rare victory vs. Brewers
Andrew McCutchen hit a fly ball to deep center field in the first inning Tuesday. In the seventh, he cracked another one to right. Neither one left the park.
So when McCutchen launched another to center in the 12th inning, he kept running — even after it went over the outfield wall to hand the Pirates a 4-3 win against the Milwaukee Brewers.
“I hit the crap out of those (first) two balls, and they went nowhere,” McCutchen said. “So, right off my bat, I didn't know. I figured I would book it and try to get a triple out of it. I still didn't know, even when it went out.”
McCutchen lined a 2-2 pitch from righty reliever Mike Fiers for his fourth career walkoff homer.
Vin Mazzaro (2-0) tossed two innings for the win. The Pirates snapped the Brewers' five-game win streak at PNC Park. Home or away, it was just the second win by the Pirates their past 12 games against Milwaukee.
“There's a lot of fight in this team,” catcher Russell Martin said. “We never feel like we're out of a game.”
The Pirates tied the score, 3-3, in the eighth inning. John Axford, a former closer, yielded Neil Walker's leadoff single. With one out, Martin lined an RBI double into the left field corner.
Third base coach Rick Sofield waved Walker home. A good relay would have easily gotten Walker, but shortstop Jean Segura's throw sailed over the head of catcher Martin Maldonado. Walker scored and Russell went to third.
“It was nice to see Neil leg that out,” Martin said.
Axford kept the score tied by getting Clint Barmes on a grounder and striking out pinch hitter Travis Snider. At that point, the Pirates were 0 for 12 with runners in scoring position. They finished the game 0 for 15.
It was Martin's first game back after missing the previous four due to a stiff neck. He doubled twice and walked. “I was happy to play 12 (innings),” Martin said. “I've never felt so fresh. I could've gone 35 innings.”
Pirates starter Jeff Locke got his third consecutive no-decision. The left-hander worked six innings and gave up three runs on seven hits. He walked one (tying his season low) and struck out six (matching his season high). It was only the third time in eight starts that he allowed more than four hits.
“I've been able to take some of the success I've had in previous starts, stay confident and roll it into the next one,” Locke said.
Brewers righty Kyle Lohse allowed five hits, his fewest in any game this season, but also walked five. Coming in, Lohse had issued five walks in 431⁄3 innings.
Each team scored a run in the first inning. Segura hit a solo homer, jerking a 3-1 pitch over the left field wall. The Pirates countered by manufacturing a run. Starling Marte and Jose Tabata hit back-to-back singles. A fly out moved Marte went to third, and he scored on Garrett Jones' grounder.
Ryan Braun led off the fourth with a double that hopped past third baseman Pedro Alvarez. With one out, Carlos Gomez doubled over the head of Tabata, scoring Braun to make it 2-1.
Although Alvarez didn't look good on Braun's double, he made up for it. When Yuniesky Betancourt hit a sharp grounder, Alvarez alertly threw to second baseman Walker to nab Gomez before he could retreat to the bag.
With one out in the fifth, Nori Aoki hit a smash up the middle that ticked off Locke's left leg — a kick save, but not a beauty. Locke insisted he was fine, but his next two pitches were wild and enabled Aoki to scoot to third base.
Segura hit a chopper up the middle — Locke kicked at it, but it was a near-miss. The infield was drawn in, but Aoki was running on contact and scored without drawing a throw.
Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.
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