Pirates rally late to complete sweep of Angels
By Rob Biertempfel
Published: Sunday, June 23, 2013, 7:42 p.m.
ANAHEIM, Calif. — To pull off their first-ever road series sweep against an American League club, the Pirates went back to playing National League-style baseball.
The Pirates on Sunday gave up their designated hitter during a three-run rally in the ninth inning. In the 10th, they used a sacrifice bunt to ignite a four-run outburst that upended the Los Angeles Angels, 10-9.
It's the first time the Pirates swept an interleague road series. They've won only six of 31 three-game road sets against American League teams and have been swept 14 times.
Angels reliever Ernesto Frieri blew a 6-3 lead in the ninth. Andrew McCutchen pinch-hit for DH Tony Sanchez and bounced into a run-scoring fielder's choice. Russell Martin delivered a pinch-hit RBI double. Starling Marte tied the game with a two-out single.
McCutchen stayed in the game as the center fielder, which meant the Pirates had to forfeit their DH.
“Kind of crazy, huh?” manager Clint Hurdle said. “We pushed in all our chips. We got what we needed to get out of our guys.”
Pedro Alvarez began the 10th with a double off the center-field wall.
It was the second hit of the game by Alvarez, who went deep in the first inning to extend his streak to four games with a home run. He batted in the No. 3 spot for the first time in his career.
“It's a huge honor,” Alvarez said. “But a spot in the lineup is just a spot. You still have to do your job.”
Clint Barmes, pinch-hitting for reliever Mark Melancon (2-1), bunted Alvarez to third base. Righty Kevin Jepsen (0-2) intentionally walked Neil Walker. Gaby Sanchez walked, loading the bases.
Travis Snider dropped an RBI single into left field. The ball ticked off J.B. Shuck's glove, allowing two extra runs to score. Martin stroked a single to left, scoring Snider.
“It's been our approach all year — we're going to fight all the way through,” Martin said. “No game's ever over. We have no quit, that's for sure.”
The Angels scored three runs in the bottom of the inning off Jason Grilli. Mike Trout struck out with runners on second and third to end it.
The bottom of the 10th was scary for the Pirates. But the bottom of the second was simply sloppy, as the Angels scored three unearned runs to grab a 5-1 lead.
It was sloppy for right-hander Charlie Morton, who gave up three hits and two walks. It was sloppy for the infielders, who made two errors and got caught napping on a play when two runs scored on a groundout.
With one out and the Angels trailing, 1-0, Howie Kendrick walked and Alberto Callaspo singled. Erick Aybar hit a bouncer to second baseman Walker, who tried to flip the ball to first baseman Sanchez. The toss went into foul ground, allowing Kendrick to score and sending Callaspo to third.
Callaspo scored when third baseman Alvarez booted Chris Iannetta's hard hopper. Shuck singled to drive in Aybar. Peter Bourjos walked, loading the bases.
Trout grounded to Walker, who tossed the ball to shortstop Jordy Mercer. Bourjos was forced out at second, but his slide upended Mercer. Iannetta scored — as did Shuck, who never stopped running after rounding third. By the time Mercer recovered his wits and picked up the ball, Shuck had crossed the plate.
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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