R-B-Ike: Single seals Pirates comeback in bottom of the ninth

In keeping with the theme of the game Tuesday night, the Pirates did their work in the ninth inning quickly. After eight scoreless innings passed in rapid fashion at the hands of Arizona Diamondbacks starter Wade Miley, the Pirates upended the contest in a flash.

Ike Davis’ pinch-hit single gave the Pirates a 3-2, walk-off win against the Diamondbacks at PNC Park. The Pirates won for the eighth time in their past 10 games and stole one from the Diamondbacks after Miley punished them for eight innings.

“We’ve had a couple taken from us this year, so it just happens,” Davis said. “We’re going to battle until the game’s over. Obviously, going from a good chance of losing to winning is always a great thing.”

Neil Walker and pinch-hitter Gregory Polanco, initially given the night off, singled to start the ninth with the Pirates trailing, 2-0. Polanco had been 0 for 16 against left-handers since hitting his first career homer off Miami Marlins left-hander Mike Dunn in a 13-inning Pirates win June 13.

“From my perspective down there, he’s probably our best reach guy,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “There’s some thought, ‘Well, you send a guy up there that’s done it.’ This kid’s talented.”

Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson replaced Miley with closer Addison Reed. Josh Harrison lined out. Starling Marte swung and missed at two sliders, but connected with the third, driving it off the wall in center for a two-run, tying double.

“I was looking for one pitch I can hit to the outfield,” Marte said. “I was struggling the first two pitches. I was thinking [about] the pitch I want, and he threw me a slider in the middle.”

“It was an 0-2 count, and I missed my spot again,” Reed said. “I was trying to get it away, I was trying to duplicate the second pitch to him.”

Polanco slid in just ahead of the throw, which bounced away, allowing Marte to take third. Reed intentionally walked Andrew McCutchen, and Davis pinch-hit for Gaby Sanchez.

Davis hit a broken-bat single to right to score Marte and give the Pirates the win. Davis said he was looking for a pitch he could hit in the air to score Marte from third.

“He threw me a 92 mph cutter in off the plate, and I somehow hit it,” Davis said.

Ernesto Frieri (1-0) earned the win in relief; Reed (1-4) took the loss.

Miley pitched 42⁄3 perfect innings to start the game before giving up a swinging-bunt single to Jordy Mercer.

Miley worked two more perfect innings, striking out the side in the seventh, until Russell Martin singled up the middle to start the eighth.

Martin was caught stealing second, however, to end the inning.

“I was making good pitches all night long, and then didn’t really make them when I needed to,” Miley said.

Miley’s outing initially overshadowed the start the Pirates received from Jeff Locke, who navigated through numerous baserunners to allow only two runs in eight innings.

“One of the things that feels really good is I made 30 starts last season, [but] I didn’t go out for the eighth once, regardless of how well things were going,” Locke said.

After Locke put 11 men on base through the first five innings, he retired the side in order in each of his final three.

“The command was just a little bit up over the plate early, but he stayed with his program,” Hurdle said.

“His stuff got better as the game went on. He got the ball downhill with some angle.”

Locke allowed Paul Goldschmidt to reach base for the third time with a two-out single in the fifth. Locke then had Goldschmidt, who had taken off for second, caught on the bases, but Sanchez’s errant throw let Goldschmidt reach second.

Miguel Montero singled to right to score Goldschmidt, just ahead of Josh Harrison’s throw. Aaron Hill’s bloop single to shallow right scored Montero, and the Diamondbacks took a 2-0 lead.

Staff writer RJ Schaffer contributed. Bill Brink: bbrink@post-gazette.com and Twitter @BrinkPG. First Published July 1, 2014 9:46 PM

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