Josh Harrison celebrates with teammates in the dugout after hitting a solo home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the third inning Saturday night at Chase Field.
By Bill Brink / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
PHOENIX — Andrew McCutchen sported a rectangular bandage square in the middle of his back, right where Randall Delgado hit him with a pitch Saturday night. The plunking came in response to Ernesto Frieri breaking Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt’s hand Friday. McCutchen understood the reasoning. He disagreed with the execution.
“There is a right way to do it,” McCutchen said after the Pirates’ 8-3 win against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field. “And if you’re going to hit me, hit me.”
Josh Harrison walked against Delgado and Gregory Polanco doubled, opening first base.
Delgado missed with a fastball inside to McCutchen, then threw a slider down and away. With a 2-0 count, he hit McCutchen on the spine with a 95-mph fastball.
“If you’re going to miss me the first pitch, hit me the second pitch,” McCutchen said. “Try and hit me. But you don’t throw a slider the next pitch. Because that’s how people get hurt. I don’t know what’s to happen [Sunday]. I don’t know how I’m going to feel [Sunday].”
McCutchen grabbed for his back and dropped to the turf. He slammed his bat upon standing up, a rare sight for this even-tempered center fielder. Delgado was immediately ejected.
“I was trying to work my corners more, trying to mix more but unfortunately the ball moved,” Delgado said. “I think maybe I don’t have control.”
Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson, who had been ejected several innings before, said “It got away” when asked about the pitch.
“Sure it did,” McCutchen said sarcastically in response. “Sure it did. I’m sure it got away from him. Just like the first pitch. I’m sure both of those got away from him.”
McCutchen eventually came around to score and appeared to line up catcher Miguel Montero for a collision, but there was no play at the plate.
“They had all game to retaliate,” said McCutchen, who empathized with the Diamondbacks’ frustration regarding Goldschmidt. “They had the first inning to retaliate, they had that first pitch to retaliate, missed. You throw a slider the second pitch, and then you throw up and in on the next pitch. Are you trying to hurt me, too? That’s the question.”
Asked about the play, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said, “The game takes care of itself.”
Harrison assembled a span of four consecutive at-bats that resulted in an extra-base hit — his eighth-inning triple and ninth-inning double Friday night, his leadoff double and his third-inning home run Saturday. Seven hits in a row went for extra bases until he singled in the eighth.
“Just trying to have good at-bats and not miss pitches,” Harrison said.
As he did a night earlier, Harrison started the go-ahead rally. He singled of Brad Ziegler to lead off the eighth. Polanco tapped a grounder, but his backswing hit Miguel Montero’s glove and he reached on catcher’s interference.
McCutchen bounced a single through the left side, scoring Harrison. Ike Davis grounded out to move the runners up. Martin chopped a high bouncer in front of the plate, but Ziegler’s throw hit Martin in the back and two more runs scored. Brent Morel, who entered as a defensive replacement for Pedro Alvarez in the sixth, doubled off the wall to score the fourth run of the inning.
Vance Worley and Chase Anderson matched each other through six innings, each allowing one run.
Anderson threw three consecutive curveballs to Harrison to start his third-inning turn at the plate. Harrison watched them all. With a 2-1 count, Anderson tried a fastball, but Harrison turned on it and put it in the seats above the Diamondbacks bullpen in left field.
Alvarez committed only one error Saturday night on a high throw that sailed over Davis’ head, but he bounced two others in the dirt that Davis managed to pick. Hurdle removed Alvarez after striking out with two on in the sixth and put Morel at third.
Pirates players said they thought the beanings were over with heading into the series finale today, but that did not ameliorate McCutchen.
“Just remember I don’t forget,” he said. “I’m ready to go now. … ”
Bill Brink: email@example.com and Twitter @BrinkPG.
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