Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Jeff Locke throws during the third inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
By Bill Brink / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
PHOENIX — The flip side of the trade deadline receives less attention than the trades. Every time a team sends away a player, they backfill that vacant roster spot in a chain reaction that travels all the way through the farm system.
The Arizona Diamondbacks, who entered Thursday’s game with a 47-61 record, were in sell mode. After dealing Martin Prado and Gerardo Parra before Thursday’s deadline, they called up Roger Kieschnick and Andy Marte.
In his first at-bat in the major leagues since 2010, Marte hit the tie-breaking homer for the Diamondbacks in what would become a 7-4 Pirates loss at Chase Field, one of three Diamondbacks home runs on the night.
Jeff Locke began the bottom of the sixth inning with the game tied, 3-3. Nick Ahmed singled. Marte pinch-hit in the pitcher’s spot in the order and drove a two-run shot out to left field in his first at-bat as a Diamondback.
Marte, 30, played in parts of six seasons for the Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians. He spent 2011 with Class AAA Indianapolis in the Pirates organization. The Diamondbacks signed him as a minor league free agent in December and he hit .330 with a .384 on-base percentage and 13 homers for Class AAA Reno before the team promoted him.
Aaron Hill followed two batters later with a solo home run to extend the lead. Nick Ahmed hit his first major league homer off Stolmy Pimentel in the eighth.
Neil Walker tied his career high with his 16th home run and Russell Martin hit a two-run double, but it wasn’t enough. The loss knocked the Pirates into third place in the National League Central, 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Milwaukee Brewers.
Locke (2-3) allowed six runs, four earned, and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Walker singled and Ike Davis walked in the second before Martin drove a two-run double to the wall in left-center field.
Locke had two outs and the pitcher at the plate before the third inning tumbled out of control. Diamondbacks starter Josh Collmenter reached on a grounder up the middle. Ender Inciarte beat out a grounder that Walker had to dive for. Locke then walked Hill to load the bases for Paul Goldschmidt.
He fell behind Goldschmidt, 2-0 and 3-1, but struck him out swinging through a fastball.
The bases-loaded jam he faced the following inning would not end so well. Mark Trumbo singled, Jordan Pacheco doubled and Locke hit David Peralta with a pitch to load the bases. Ahmed flied to right for the inning’s second out, but not deep enough to score a run.
Collmenter hit a slow grounder to Pedro Alvarez at third. Alvarez, who has spent time on the bench recently while he worked on his poor throwing, bounced the throw to first. The ball got away from Davis, who was charged with the error, and two unearned runs scored to tie the game.
A single and a walk moved Goldschmidt into scoring position in the fifth. Pacheco’s single scored Goldschmidt and the Diamondbacks led, 3-2.
Walker hit a first-pitch curveball out to right field in the sixth to tie the game.
Notes: Starling Marte will begin a rehab assignment at Class AAA Indianapolis Saturday. Marte, who is on the seven-day concussion disabled list, will play long enough to get four plate appearances Saturday, then play nine innings in the field Sunday and Monday. He will serve as the designated hitter Tuesday and the Pirates will re-evaluate him. … Gerrit Cole, who is on the 15-day DL because of pain and tightness in his right latissimus dorsi, will make a rehab start for Indianapolis Saturday.
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