Plunked, ejected, but ever resilient Tuesday night, the Pirates outlasted the Los Angeles Dodgers, 12-7, in a wild game at PNC Park.
The Pirates led, 2-0, 4-2, then went ahead, 8-4, in a big sixth inning, but it was only with a four-run eighth that they clamped down on win No. 53.
Gregory Polanco, slumping recently, had three RBIs with a solo home run off Josh Beckett in the third and a two-run single in the sixth. He later scored on a wild pitch, which stood as the winning run.
In the eighth, Dodgers reliever Chris Perez loaded the bases with walks, then walked in a run to make it 9-7. Russell Martin made it 11-7 with a two-run single against Brandon League, and Ike Davis drove in another with a single.
“No inning was safe and no pitcher was safe. The bats were alive for both teams,” Davis said. “We did a really good job of laying off good pitches and hitting mistakes.”
The Pirates took their first big lead in the sixth when Polanco came to the plate with the bases loaded, worked the count full, then flared a two-run single to left to give the Pirates a 6-4 lead. Travis Snider tacked on a run with an RBI single and Polanco scored on a wild pitch to make it 8-4.
The real fireworks started shortly after when Dodgers reliever Jamey Wright nailed Andrew McCutchen in his left shoulder, prompting Pirates reliever Justin Wilson to throw one tight inside in the seventh.
On his second pitch, Wilson plunked Justin Turner on his elbow with a 97 mph fastball and was ejected by home-plate umpire Toby Basner.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle hurried out to argue the call and was tossed by third-base umpire Jeff Nelson.
“I think the umpire’s job is to judge intent,” Hurdle said. “There’s a mound visit with McCutchen at the plate and the ball’s thrown upper body, hits him in the back shoulder and there was no intent judged on that and he goes to first base.
“Wilson’s trying to pitch hard in. He always pitches hard in. They judged it was intentional. They didn’t want to heed a warning. They just threw him out.”
Wilson said he was surprised there was no warning issued first.
“That was the umpire’s decision at that point,” he said. “It’s part of baseball. Pitching inside is part of baseball. Guys do get hit. … I was more surprised there wasn’t a warning given. It is what it is.”
Jared Hughes replaced Wilson and gave up a two-run homer to Adrian Gonzalez as the Dodgers cut the lead to 8-6.
Wright then hit Martin with a 75 mph curveball in the seventh as the crowd — livid — rained boos from the stands.
The Dodgers, meanwhile, were not done rallying, and pinch-hitter Scott Van Slyke’s home run off Tony Watson in the eighth cut the Pirates’ lead to 8-7.
Starter Vance Worley gave the Pirates six solid innings, allowing seven hits and four runs (one earned). He struck out five and walked two.
The Pirates hit three solo home runs off Beckett while building early leads of 2-0 and 4-2, but they lost those leads thanks to innings fueled by fielding errors.
Walker and Davis each hit solo home runs in the second inning, but the Dodgers erased that lead quickly.
Pedro Alvarez made his major league-leading 22nd error this season to open the third when he threw a grounder by Beckett into the dirt. Davis tried to scoop it up at first, but it caromed down the first-base line as Beckett took second. He moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Gonzalez’s sacrifice fly.
Matt Kemp singled off Worley and scored on Andre Ethier’s bloop single.
Polanco ended his slump with a towering home run to right in the third, smashing an 0-1 cutter from Beckett.
Walker stroked a two-out double into the left-field corner to score Snider from first to go ahead, 4-2.
Alvarez doubled in the fourth and shortly thereafter was removed from the game with “left knee discomfort” and replaced by Josh Harrison at third.
Harrison overthrew first on a grounder by Juan Uribe in the sixth, moving Carl Crawford to third and Uribe to second. Both scored on A.J. Ellis’ tying single.
“We kept playing, we kept adding on, we kept scoring, controlling what we can control when we got into the dugout and got our at-bats,” Hurdle said.
Alex Nieves contributed to this report. Jenn Menendez firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @JennMenendez.
First Published July 22, 2014 11:01 PM