The Times West Virginian

Sports

July 2, 2014

Pirates rally for three in 9th to win

PITTSBURGH — Starling Marte hit a two-run double to tie the game with one out in the ninth inning and then scored on pinch-hitter Ike Davis’ single two batters later as the Pittsburgh Pirates rallied for a 3-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night.

The Pirates were shut down for eight innings by Arizona starter Wade Miley before rallying in the ninth. Neil Walker and pinch-hitter Gregory Polanco started the inning with singles against Miley. One batter later, Marte hit a drive to the wall in center off closer Addison Reed (1-4).

Andrew McCutchen was intentionally walked and Davis singled to right, scoring Marte easily.

Ernesto Frieri (1-3) earned his first win with the Pirates after working a scoreless ninth.

Miley allowed four hits in eight-plus innings, striking out 10. He is winless since May 10.

Miguel Montero and Aaron Hill produced consecutive RBI singles in the fifth off Pirates starter Jeff Locke. Paul Goldschmidt went 2 for 4 with a run for the Diamondbacks, who fell to 27-2 when leading after eight innings.

Pittsburgh’s comeback looked unlikely most of the night the way Miley was dealing.

The Pirates turned things around in June, going 16-10 to get back above .500. An offense that found its rhythm helped. Pittsburgh led the National League in on-base percentage (.350) last month, but Miley spent eight innings giving the Pirates a rude welcome to July.

The left-hander came in winless in his last eight starts, including a rough four innings last week against Cleveland in which the Indians tagged him for five runs. Arizona manager Kirk Gibson remained upbeat, however, stressing Miley’s biggest problem wasn’t his stuff but his consistency.

Working both sides of the plate masterfully, Miley kept the surging Pirates at bay. He had little trouble breezing through the first four innings, the only well-struck ball a deep fly to center by McCutchen that Ender Inciarte tracked down at the wall.

Locke lacked Miley’s crispness but allowed only two runs over eight innings, yielding eight hits while walking one and striking out three. The Diamondbacks stranded six runners in the first four innings and were on their way to doing it again in the fifth before catching a break thanks to some sloppy defense by the Pirates.

Goldschmidt singled with two outs and was attempting to steal second when the Pirates sniffed it out. Locke threw to Gaby Sanchez at first to start the rundown, but the burly Goldschmidt was safe at second when Sanchez’s throw to shortstop Jordy Mercer sailed into left field.

Montero followed with a single that brought Goldschmidt home, and Montero scored moments later on Hill’s flare to shallow right.

Given some room to work with, Miley didn’t let it go to waste. He struck out the side in the seventh and had little trouble in the eighth.

Arizona nearly extended its lead to 3-0 in the ninth, only to have Gerardo Parra thrown out at home trying to score on a single to right by Inciarte. Less than 15 minutes later, the Pirates were celebrating their second win in 35 games when trailing after eight innings.

NOTES: Pirates LHP Francisco Liriano is scheduled to pitch four innings in a simulated game Wednesday. Liriano, on the disabled list with a strained left oblique, threw 52 pitches without an issue in the bullpen on Sunday. ... An MRI on Arizona SS Chris Owings’ left shoulder Monday revealed no structural damage. Owings went on the disabled list Sunday with a left shoulder strain. Gibson called the injury just a bruise. Owings won’t hit for about a week, but Gibson is confident the rookie will be able to return when his 15-day stint on the DL is up, barring any setbacks. ... The series continues Wednesday when Arizona’s Chase Armstrong (5-3, 3.63 ERA) faces Pittsburgh’s Charlie Morton (4-9, 3.41).

 

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