Braves saddle Pirates with 5-4 extra-inning loss
By Rob Biertempfel
Published: Tuesday, June 4, 2013, 11:12 p.m.
ATLANTA — Andrelton Simmons' RBI double in the 10th inning Tuesday lifted the Atlanta Braves to a 5-4 comeback victory over the Pirates.
Dan Uggla drew a leadoff walk from Mark Melancon (1-1). With one out, pinch hitter Reed Johnson was hit by a pitch.
“That put me behind the eight ball,” Melancon said. “It changes things.”
Simmons hit a 1-1 pitch to the wall in center to win it.
It was the Pirates' second walk-off loss this season. They are 4-2 in extra-inning games.
The Pirates blew leads of 3-0 and 4-2. In the sixth inning, B.J. Upton greeted reliever Ryan Reid with a two-run homer that tied the score, 4-4. It was only Reid's second outing in the majors and the fifth batter he'd faced overall.
“Pitchers miss spots from time to time, whether they've got time in (the majors) or not,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.
Pirates starter Jeff Locke had seven strikeouts, matching the season high he set two starts earlier against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Mike Minor was the first left-handed starter the Pirates had faced since May 18. He was 4-0 with a 1.98 ERA over six starts in May.
Leading off the second inning, Gaby Sanchez pulled a 2-1 pitch from Minor deep to left field, but it whizzed outside the foul pole for a long strike. Sanchez was not deterred. Two pitches later, Sanchez hit a shot that was maybe not as long but no doubt fair. The homer landed a couple of rows deep in the left-center field seats.
“That's the first time that's happened to me,” Sanchez said. “Usually, you don't see another pitch like that again. But he threw me another pretty good pitch, and I got it.”
An error by Braves second baseman Uggla put Clint Barmes on base to start the third. With two outs, Jordy Mercer and Andrew McCutchen doubled to give the Pirates a 3-0 lead.
The Braves pulled within 3-2 in the third and ended Locke's streak of 211⁄3 scoreless innings.
Simmons walked, and Jason Heyward blooped a single to right. With two outs, Locke faced lefty-hitting Freddie Freeman.
Locke got ahead, 0-2, then missed with a fastball. Locke tried a curveball, but Freeman lined it into the left-field corner for a two-run double.
In the fourth, Pedro Alvarez connected on a fastball and hit a towering solo homer to left to make the score 4-2.
“I had him 0-2,” Minor said. “In his first (at-bat), I threw him a slider and a curveball, and he couldn't touch either one. I should have gone back to that.”
With two outs in the sixth, Uggla singled to right. Locke had thrown a season-high 103 pitches, so Hurdle called on Reid to face Upton.
“I felt good, but it was a lot of pitches and we haven't really got up that high a lot this season,” Locke said.
Upton went into the game batting just .153. He blasted a 1-2 pitch to center, tying the score and saddling Locke with his sixth no-decision in 12 starts.
McCutchen went 2 for 4 on the fourth anniversary of his first major league game.
McCutchen singled to begin the ninth and made it to second base but was stranded when Alvarez flied out to end the inning.
Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org orvia Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.
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