Pirates storm back with late rally to defeat Diamondbacks, 9-4
PHOENIX — It had been more than two years since Pedro Alvarez had gotten a pinch hit.
Granted, the Pirates slugger hasn't been asked to do it much in his career. Going into Friday's game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Alvarez had just 21 at-bats off the bench.
On Friday, with the Pirates trailing by two runs in the eighth inning, Alvarez got another opportunity and delivered a game-tying, two-run double.
Alvarez's clutch hit set the stage for five-run rally in the ninth inning as the Pirates pulled away for a 9-4 victory over the Diamondbacks.
The Pirates overcame a sluggish start — they had one hit through five innings — and a four-run deficit.
The Pirates finally broke through against left-hander Vidal Nuno in the sixth. Jordy Mercer doubled and scored on Gaby Sanchez's two-out single.
In the eighth, they tied it by getting three runs off reliever Randall Delgado.
Josh Harrison tripled to right-center. Mercer walked. Andrew McCutchen blasted an RBI double off the center field wall.
Lefty reliever Eury De La Rosa came in to face Alvarez, who stroked a two-run double into the gap in right-center.
It was Alvarez's first pinch hit since July 3, 2012.
The ninth-inning scoring splurge began with back-to-back doubles by Harrison and Mercer off Bo Schultz (0-1). McCutchen was intentionally walked. Michael Martinez and Russell Martin each had an RBI single.
Martin has 11 hits in his past 20 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
Travis Snider, who popped out with the bases loaded in the eighth, added a two-run single.
Nuno retired 13 of the first 14 batters he faced, picking up three strikeouts and three ground-ball outs.
After spending two seasons in the Cleveland Indians' minor league system, Nuno was released in 2010.
A New York Yankees scout rediscovered him in June 2011 while Nuno was pitching for the Washington Wild Things.
He was traded to Arizona on July 6 for Brandon McCarthy.
Pirates starter Edinson Volquez pitched 52⁄3 innings and gave up four runs and seven hits. He walked two and struck out five.
After four scoreless innings, the game turned in the fifth. Didi Gregorius led off with a hard liner that scooted under shortstop Mercer's glove. It was scored a single.
With one out and Nuno at the plate, Gregorius went to third base on what originally was ruled a wild pitch. The Diamondbacks challenged the call, and the replay review determined Nuno was hit by the pitch.
Instead of having a runner on third with the pitcher at the plate, the Diamondbacks had two on for Ender Inciarte. It might have seemed a debatable decision by Arizona manager Kirk Gibson until Inciarte jacked a three-run homer to right field.
David Peralta walked, stole second and went to third when catcher Martin's throw sailed into center field.
Martin was visibly upset by the error and smacked his mask off one of his shin guards.
Martin no doubt felt even worse when Peralta scored on a wild pitch.
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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