Pirates rally to beat Reds, 6-5



Neil Walker's bloop single to right field scored Russell Martin in the ninth to give the Pirates a 6-5 walk-off victory against the Cincinnati Reds Monday night at PNC Park.

The Pirates trailed, 2-0, early, led, 4-2, after a dramatic Ike Davis broken-bat grand slam, then trailed, 5-4, before Andrew McCutchen tied the score with a homer in the eighth.

The win snapped a three game losing streak, and pulled the Pirates to 9-11 as the two teams reunited at PNC Park for the first time since October for an electric National League wild-card game.

"Talk about exciting baseball to have to answer. We're down. We answer. They come back. We tie. We add on. These are things good teams need to do," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. "We believe we're a good team and we're going to go out on the field and prove it. We believe we're going to as long as we keep playing and finishing things off."

Martin and Andrew McCutchen drew one-out walks off reliever J.J. Hoover in the ninth. Pedro Alvarez then popped up to third before Walker came to the plate.

He was behind in the count, 0-2, when he dropped a curveball into right field and Martin ran on contact.

"Most catchers don't move as well as Russ. He's moving on the pitch. There's two outs, he's being sent," said Walker. "Fortunately, the throw kind of kicked up on the catcher and he was safe at home."

The Pirates were up, 4-3, when Hurdle opted to send starter Francisco Liriano back out for the eighth.

A 14-innning game Sunday ate into the bullpen, and Liriano had settled after giving up a earned run each in the first and third, and one unearned run in the seventh.

Brandon Phillips and Todd Frazier hit back-to-back singles to open the inning, ending Liriano's outing at 101 pitches.

"We had a long game [Sunday] so I was trying to give them everything I had. Didn't go the way I wanted to but at least I tried," said Liriano, who said he struggled with location on both of those hits. "My sinker wasn't working. Was up or down and that was missing. I was getting behind in the count. I'll just put it behind me, and get ready for my next start and learn from my mistakes."

Reliever Justin Wilson inherited runners on the corners with no outs, and both eventually scored. Jay Bruce hit run-scoring double and Devin Mesoraco drove in Bruce with a single to give the Reds a 5-4 lead.

"He knew where the bullpen was," said Hurdle. "They scratch one in the seventh. I had my concerns after a 10-pitch at-bat to [Zack Cozart]. Not because of the pitch count. His pitches were starting to get up. It wasn't the Frank we've seen where he's good and crisp. But he knew where we were and we pushed him back out in the eighth and quickly we're in another jam."

The Pirates trailed, 2-0, early before Davis hit a first-pitch grand slam in the fourth to give the Pirates a 4-2 lead.

Davis, who was acquired Friday from the New York Mets, endeared himself to Pittsburgh by driving a pitch over the Clemente Wall in right.

McCutchen singled to start off the fourth, Alvarez followed with a double and Walker was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

Davis, who went 2 for 3 Saturday in his debut, came to the plate after hitting a single Monday in his first at-bat.

It was the second grand slam this season for Davis against the Reds, with his first coming in walk-off style in a ninth-inning, pinch-hitting situation April 5 for the Mets.

It seemed to pick up Liriano, who retired Billy Hamilton, Joey Votto and Phillips 1-2-3 in the fifth with a groundout and two fly-ball outs.

He allowed a walk to open the sixth but induced a double play and groundout before giving up just one unearned run in the seventh.


Jenn Menendez: jmenendez@post-gazette and Twitter @JennMenendez First Published April 21, 2014 10:32 PM

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