Pirates' Andrew McCutchen is congratulated by third base coach Nick Levya following a 9-4 victory against the Arizona Diamondbacks during a baseball game on Friday in Phoenix.
By Bill Brink / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
PHOENIX — In the late innings, the Pirates were relentless. Shut down early by Vidal Nuno, they broke free against the Arizona Diamondbacks bullpen.
Eight runs in the final two innings led the Pirates to a 9-4 win Friday night at Chase Field. The Bucs jabbed away at Arizona relievers Randall Delgado and Eury De La Rosa, then unleashed the combinations on Bo Schultz.
The top of the order inflicted them most damage. Josh Harrison, Jordy Mercer and Andrew McCutchen scored seven runs and had six hits, five for extra bases.
The Pirates trailed, 4-1, after seven, but Harrison hit a one-out triple off Delgado in the eighth. Mercer walked and McCutchen cranked a double high off the center-field wall to score Harrison.
Pedro Alvarez pinch-hit for Justin Wilson and lefty Eury De La Rosa entered to counter. Alvarez worked a 2-2 count, then drove a fastball to the gap in right-center field to tie the game with a two-run double.
Harrison doubled with one out in the ninth. Mercer followed with a double of his own to break the tie. Michael Martinez, Russell Martin and Travis Snider added RBI hits.
Edinson Volquez allowed all four runs in the fifth inning, three of them on Ender Inciarte’s home run. The Pirates barely dented Vidal Nuno through his six strong innings.
In 5 2/3 innings, Volquez (8-8) surrendered four runs, three earned, and seven hits. He has now given up 10 earned runs in 15 1/3 innings, including nine walks, in his past three starts since throwing a complete game July 10.
The Diamondbacks took the lead after an errant bounce in the fifth. Didi Gregorius lined a single under Jordy Mercer’s glove. After one out, Volquez hit Nuno in the left heel with a curveball, but home plate umpire Lance Barrett did not call the hit-by-pitch. The ball bounced to the backstop, Gregorius reached third and Russell Martin waved manager Clint Hurdle out of the dugout.
Hurdle didn’t challenge, but Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson did, figuring first and second with Inciarte at the plate was better than a runner on third and his pitcher batting. Moments later, Gibson looked like a genius: Inciarte drove a 1-0 pitch out to right field for a three-run home run.
The Pirates’ battery handed another run to the Diamondbacks that inning. David Peralta walked, stole second, went to third when Martin’s throw sailed into center field and scored on a wild pitch that bounced away.
A walk and a single in the sixth inning forced Hurdle to replace Volquez with Justin Wilson, who stranded the runners.
In 2011, Nuno was a Washington Wild Thing. This year, he made starts for the New York Yankees. A 27-year-old lefty, he had a 5.42 ERA after injuries to other Yankee starters forced him into the rotation, but New York shipped him to Arizona to acquire Brandon McCarthy.
He pitched seven scoreless innings in his first start as a Diamondback, but had a 4.96 ERA in his next three. Friday, he allowed one run in six innings.
He gave up one hit to the Pirates in the first four innings and needed only 53 pitches to face one batter more than the minimum. A double and an RBI single in his sixth and final inning drove home the only run against him.
Mercer smoked two balls at Trumbo in left field Friday night. Trumbo found his way back in time to catch the first, but the second one, in the sixth inning, flew over his head for a double. Gaby Sanchez followed two batters later with an RBI single to cut Arizona’s lead to 4-1.
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