Pirates again get last laugh with 8-3 victory over angry Diamondbacks
PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks got their payback. The Pirates got a 8-3 laugher.
Arizona reliever Randall Delgado hit Andrew McCutchen in the back with a 95 mph fastball in the ninth inning Saturday. The plunking likely was retaliation for Friday night, when Pirates reliever Ernesto Frieri hit slugger Paul Goldschmidt with a pitch.
Goldschmidt went on the disabled list with a broken right hand and likely is done for the season.
With one out and runners on second and third, Delgado's first pitch to McCutchen was tight inside. The 2-0 pitch nailed McCutchen on the spine, and he dropped flat on the ground. Delgado walked off the mound without waiting for umpire Ron Kulpa to eject him.
McCutchen got to his feet and slammed his bat to the ground. He eventually scored the Pirates' eighth run on Brent Morel's two-run single.
In his postgame news conference, Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said the pitch simply got away from Delgado.
“I'm sure it did,” McCutchen said sarcastically. “Just like the first pitch. Both of those got away from him.
“They had all game to retaliate. They had that first pitch to retaliate, and they missed. He threw a slider (away) with the second pitch, and then threw up and in on the next pitch. It hit me square in the spine. Are you trying to hurt me, too? That's the question.”
McCutchen accused Delgado of setting him up for the third pitch, which could have resulted in an injury.
“I can deal with being hit by a pitch,” McCutchen said. “That's the game. Retaliation is going to happen. But there is a right way to do it. If you miss me with the first pitch, hit me with the second. But you don't throw a slider, because that's how people get hurt.”
Manager Clint Hurdle's reaction was muted: “The game takes care of itself. We just play it.”
Earlier in the game, things might have reached a tipping point for beleaguered third baseman Pedro Alvarez. He was benched in the sixth inning after making another throwing error and striking out with two runners on base.
Hurdle said he will huddle with general manager Neal Huntington about Alvarez. Hurdle indicated that all possibilities are on the table, but Alvarez is out of minor league options.
“That's our next level of conversation,” Hurdle said. “You're trying to manage the roster to the best of your ability. You definitely want to take care of every individual player. You've also got to take care of the team.”
In the fourth, Alvarez overthrew first baseman Ike Davis, allowing Didi Gregorius to reach base on an otherwise routine grounder. It was Alvarez's 24th error of the season, the most in the majors.
Alvarez made two other throws across the diamond in the game. One was low, and another reached Davis on a hop. All but three of Alvarez's errors have been on throws.
This is not the first time a power-hitting Pirates third baseman has battled defensive woes. In 1989, Bobby Bonilla made 35 errors in 156 games at third base. In 1990, Bonilla was used mostly as a right fielder; he played in 14 games at third and made three errors there.
Alvarez also is struggling at the plate, batting .235 and homerless since July 11. He flied out leading off the second inning and grounded out with no one on to end the fourth.
In the sixth, the Pirates had runners on first and second with two outs when Alvarez faced right-hander Chase Anderson. After getting ahead in the count 2-0, Alvarez whiffed on a changeup, a 91 mph fastball and another changeup.
Morel replaced Alvarez at third base to start the bottom of the inning. Manager Clint Hurdle made the preemptive move even though the Pirates' bench was not at full strength. Neil Walker was scratched from the starting lineup because of back tightness.
Josh Harrison gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead in the third inning with a solo home run. It was Harrison's fourth straight at-bat that resulted in an extra-base hit.
Over the first nine games of this road trip, Harrison has gone 14 for 39 (.359). He has 10 extra-base hits, including four homers, seven RBIs and has scored 10 runs.
The Diamondbacks tied it in the fifth against right-hander Vance Worley. Ender Inciarte singled, moved up on a grounder and scored on David Peralta's single.
Worley worked six innings and allowed one run and seven hits. He walked one and struck out two.
Harrison scored the winning run in the eighth. He led off with an infield single and went to second base when Gregory Polanco reached on catcher's interference.
McCutchen's single off Brad Ziegler (4-2) drove in Harrison to make it 2-1.
Russell Martin reached on Ziegler's throwing error, and two runs scored on the play. Morel's double off the batter's eye scored Martin.
There were two great catches by Pirates outfielders in the second inning. With one out and a runner on first base, Gregorius hit a looper to left field. Travis Snider made a diving catch.
Andy Marte followed with a looper to the gap in right center. McCutchen slid and appeared to snag the ball an inch or so off the ground. It was impossible to tell from the replay review whether the ball actually bounced into McCutchen's glove, so the out stood as called.
Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson was ejected between innings for arguing the decision.
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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