Pirates rally four times, beat Padres in wild, 11-inning game
When he’s resting at home long past his retirement and someone asks Clint Hurdle if his Pittsburgh Pirates really rallied from two three-run deficits in late innings to win a game, maybe no one will believe him.
But he said with certainty Sunday: “I was there. I got to see all of it.”
And there was a lot to see after the Pirates beat the San Diego Padres, 11-10, in 11 innings in front of what was left of a crowd of 25,294 a PNC Park.
Two minutes short of five hours after the first pitch, Kevin Newman, who earlier extended his hitting streak to 14 games, took a two-out, 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded to force home the winning run.
Afterward, Newman, a rookie who is hitting .314, shrugged off the nerve needed to take a pitch in that situation from Padres pitcher Matt Wisler.
“Out of the hand, I thought it was up,” Newman said. “At the end of the day, it’s another pitch. I kind of trusted my eyes.”
As decisive as it was, that was only one moment.
The Pirates trailed four times in the game, twice by three runs in the ninth (7-4) and 11th innings (10-7).
Who knew they would become the first team this season to score in a save situation off Padres closer Kirby Yates, who has 26 of them?
In the ninth, Elias Diaz reached base on third baseman Manny Machado’s error. In succession, pinch-hitter Adam Frazier doubled, Newman and Bryan Reynolds singled off Yates. After Starling Marte laid down a sacrifice bunt to put the tying and winning run in scoring position, Melky Cabrera’s weak groundball drove home the tying run.
Then, in the top of the 11th, winning pitcher Francisco Liriano gave up three runs,, the first coming on a two-out, bases-loaded bunt single by Manuel Margot.
Starting pitcher Steven Brault was watching in the clubhouse with several teammates after helping to stake the Pirates to a 4-3 lead with an RBI single and five innings of work.
“There never was a feeling we were going to lose,” he said.
The Pirates had rallied from a 7-1 deficit Wednesday to beat the Detroit Tigers, 8-7, so Newman said there was a “Hey, why not” mentality in the dugout.
Again, the hits came in streams. The Pirates ended the day with 17.
Cabrera’s double scored one run, and Jacob Stallings came off the bench to tie it with a two-run single.
Cabrera, 35, slid across the plate and ended up with a face full of dirt. He wasn’t hurt, but for several seconds, he didn’t move.
“It felt like I was swimming at the beach,” Cabrera said through interpreter Mike Gonzalez. “I was just enjoying it. When I saw the umpire call safe, I was just trying to soak it all in and enjoy it.”
Hurdle gave credit to Stallings for having “a slow heartbeat.”
“He knows who he is. He likes who he is, and he just tries to go there and be who he is,” Hurdle said.
But there was strategy involved. Stallings said he knew Wisler from the minor leagues. Before Stallings stepped into the box, Pirates hitting coach Rick Eckstein told him to expect sliders from Wisler.
“So I was trying to be ready for it,” he said.
On this day, the Pirates needed a little bit of everything to stretch their winning streak to four, and Stallings gave them that last added push just before hitting his single.
“There are definitely things I can do to slow my heart down, slow the game down,” he said. “Say a little prayer before every pitch.”
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .