The Pirates' Pedro Alvarez hits a solo home run during the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels.
By Michael Sanserino Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- An extra-innings game on get-away day was keeping the Pirates from leaving Southern California for Travis Snider's hometown of Seattle.
So Snider did what he could to end the game as quickly as possible.
Snider singled with the bases loaded in the 10th inning to lead the Pirates to a 10-9 victory against the Los Angeles Angels Sunday at Angel Stadium. He planned on having as many of his teammates as possible to his home in the Seattle area Sunday night for dinner.
"I was getting really hungry," Snider said with a laugh. "The idea of steaks sitting there any longer was troubling."
After trailing for most of the game, the Pirates (46-30) scored three runs in the ninth inning and four in the 10th to secure their first interleague sweep on the road in franchise history. At their best mark in 2012, the Pirates were also 16 games over .500.
Pirates closer Jason Grilli nearly let the game slip away in the 10th. After he allowed three earned runs, star Mike Trout was at the plate with two outs and the tying run on third. But Grilli got Trout to strike out to end the game.
Pedro Alvarez sparked the Pirates offense in the inning with a leadoff double, and Angels reliever Kevin Jepsen walked Neil Walker and Gaby Sanchez to bring Snider to the plate. Snider singled to left, and Angels outfielder J.B. Shuck misplayed the ball and let it get away from him, clearing the bases.
Snider said he wanted to make the most of his chance to put the Pirates ahead in the 10th after he failed to inflict damage in the ninth, when he represented the tying run.
The Pirates trailed by as many as four runs and scored three in the ninth to tie the score.
"We've got no quit, that's for sure," said Russell Martin, who drove in a run in the ninth and 10th innings and scored the tying run in the ninth.
Walker drew a leadoff walk in the inning, and Sanchez followed with a single to center to put runners on first and second with no outs.
Walker scored when Andrew McCutchen hit into a fielder's choice, and McCutchen scored when Martin doubled off the left-field wall, just feet away from a tying home run. Starling Marte drove in Martin with a line-drive single to center that tied the score, 6-6.
It was the second blown save in 19 opportunities for Angels closer Ernesto Frieri.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle took some risks with his lineup in the late innings that paid off. Hurdle burned his designated hitter in the ninth, and McCutchen rewarded him by driving in a run. Hurdle used his last position player in the 10th, and Clint Barmes moved the eventual go-ahead run from second to third with a sacrifice bunt.
"We pushed all the chips in in the eighth inning, then we pushed more of them in in the ninth," Hurdle said.
The rally helped polish over what had been a sloppy game for the Pirates to that point.
The Angels (33-43) piled on in the second when they had luck and physics on their side, and the Pirates had disorder on theirs. Pirates starter Charlie Morton, a sinkerballer, got ground balls, but they either found holes in the defense or holes in the defenders' gloves.
"At this point, I've accepted it as reality," Morton said. "I'm going to have guys put balls in play. They are going to get hits, and balls are going to squeak through. That's just the nature of it. ??? But if I'm getting ground balls, I feel like I've accomplished my objective."
The Angels scored five runs in the second, three unearned, as the Pirates committed two errors in the second.
Howie Kendrick drew a one-out walk and scored two batters later when Walker, trying to get Erick Aybar from reaching on an infield single, flipped the ball over Sanchez's head at first and into foul territory, the first error of the inning.
Alvarez picked up an error on the next play when Chris Iannetta rocketed a ground ball right at Alvarez that the third baseman couldn't handle. Alberto Callaspo scored on that play.
But that wasn't the last of the miscues in the inning. With the bases loaded and the Angels leading, 3-1, Morton got Trout to hit a sharp grounder at Walker that could have been an inning-ending double play. But shortstop Jordy Mercer was knocked over by Peter Bourjos while covering second and stayed on the ground long enough for two runs to score.
In his third start of the season, Morton allowed six runs, three earned, on four hits in 52???3 innings. He walked five and struck out five. He took positives from his ability to get ground balls but wasn't thrilled with his eventual results.
"A weird outing," he said.
Joe Blanton, who entered the game with the most losses (10) in the American League, quieted the Pirates offense, allowing three runs, one earned, in seven innings.
Alvarez continued to tear through June by homering in a fourth consecutive game. In the past three games, he has homered in his first at-bat.
A couple of pitches after nearly flying out in foul territory -- the ball popping out of Trout's glove as he tumbled to the ground -- Alvarez cracked his 19th homer of the season, a solo shot that gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead.