Jason Bay's RBI liner into the North Side Notch in the 14th inning brought the Pirates a 5-4 victory against the Chicago Cubs tonight before 29,929 at PNC Park.
The 14th opened with Freddy Sanchez's routine grounder to short off Michael Wuertz, but Ryan Theriot's throw across the diamond was errant, and a runner was aboard. He took second on a wild pitch, then advanced to third on Luis Rivas' groundout. Nate McLouth was intentionally walked to bring up Bay.
He had a 1-2 count after three sliders but made no mistake with the first fastball he saw, driving it into the North Side Notch, well behind a drawn-in outfield.
Total game time: 4:21.
Remarkably, it was Bay's first RBI single of the season, despite having 25 RBIs overall.
The Pirates had been 1-9 against the Cubs this season, 21-16 against everyone else.
Had that gotten into their heads a bit?
``I'm sure it does a little bit,'' Chicago first baseman Derrek Lee said beforehand. "They probably want to beat us so bad that it probably works as a negative.''
"My cab driver was complaining about the Pirates, and I was saying they're not that bad,'' Chicago second baseman Mark DeRosa said, "We just happen to have their number for whatever reason that may be. They've got a nice team."
Pirates manager John Russell simply credited the Cubs with being among the game's best teams at the moment.
"They've got a good club, right up there with Atlanta and St. Louis and others," Russell said. "For some reason, obviously, we've struggled with them. But they're good. They hit, pitch, catch the ball, have a good back end of the bullpen. They're complete."
Phil Dumatrait, shrugging off his seven-walk implosion last weekend at Wrigley Field, limited Chicago to one run and five hits over 5 2/3 innings.
Fourth-inning doubles by Lee and Geovany Soto put Chicago ahead, 1-0, but the Pirates countered with two in the bottom half: Nate McLouth walked, and Jason Bay drove a two-strike fastball into the left-field bleachers for his 12th home run, fifth in the past nine games.
Dumatrait was struck on the right knee by a Ryan Theriot line drive to open the sixth. He stayed in the game, but the Cubs loaded the bases with two outs for DeRosa, and Russell turned to Franquelis Osoria.
Three strikes later, the inning was over, DeRosa frozen by a fastball on the outside corner.
Bay started the Pirates' next rally in the bottom half with a one-out single. Adam LaRoche and Jason Michaels followed suit, and it was 3-1.
Damaso Marte pitched a perfect seventh to protect a 3-1 lead, but Tyler Yates struggled from ball one in the eighth: Theriot walked, Lee singled, and Aramis Ramirez's double down the left-field line brought both home to tie the score. Kosuke Fukudome's bouncer through the middle put Chicago ahead, 4-3.
Each of those RBI hits came off 95-mph fastballs.
Yates had been charged with one run over his previous 11 innings.
The Pirates put the potential tying run aboard in the eighth when Bay walked off Carlos Marmol. He stole second, too, but LaRoche, Michaels and Jose Bautista -- capping a miserable night in which he grounded into two double plays -- struck out.
They put the leadoff man aboard in the ninth, too, when Doug Mientkiewicz was hit by a Kerry Wood pitch. Pinch-hitter Xavier Nady followed with a single. Freddy Sanchez advanced the runners with a bunt, and Luis Rivas lined a sacrifice fly to right to draw even, 4-4.
Matt Capps was the Pirates' next reliever, going a career-high three innings through the 11th.
John Grabow put up zeroes in the next three and earned the victory.
More details in tomorrow's Post-Gazette.