Horseshoe Is On the Other Foot as Pirates Walk Off on Brewers

Milwaukee always seems to have luck on its side when the Brewers play Pittsburgh. Not on Tuesday.

Andrew McCutchen's solo home run in the 12th inning gave the Pirates two wins in their last three games agains the Brewers. Photo Credit: David Hague

Andrew McCutchen’s solo home run in the 12th inning gave the Pirates two wins in their last three games against the Brewers. Photo Credit: David Hague

Andrew McCutchen hit a solo home run off Mike Fiers in the bottom of the 12th inning to give the Pirates a come-from-behind 4-3 win against Milwaukee at PNC Park.

McCutchen had previously hit two balls that appeared to be possible home runs earlier in the game, but both ended as long outs on the warning track. When what proved to be the winning strike left his bat in the 12th, even the Pirates all-everything center fielder was not sure if it was gone.

“It’s like they got a horseshoe up their butt every time we play them,” he said. “That’s just the way I look at it. It just seems like everything goes their way every time we play them. For us to be able to come out and be able to fight and be able to get a win is definitely a plus.”

Milwaukee got off to another good start against the Pirates. Jean Segura hit a solo home run in the first inning but Pittsburgh answered in its half of the first with a Garrett Jones ground out that scored Starling Marte to tie the game.

Pittsburgh’s bats went cold for a spell after that as the Pirates managed just two hits in the next four innings while the Brewers tacked on runs in the fourth and fifth innings to take a 3-1 lead.

The Pirates battled back in the later innings, however, with Neil Walker scoring on a Clint Barmes ground out in the sixth and then again on a Russell Martin double in the eighth to tie the game.

Jason Grilli made an appearance in the ninth inning, with Mark Melancon and Vin Mazzaro combining to keep Milwaukee of the score board in the extra innings and allowing the Pirates a chance to win the game.

“After we scored in the eighth I wanted an absolute stop in the ninth,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “Grilli’s my guy to go to for an absolute stop then we’ve got a really good other option after him in Melancon.”

**

The walk off home run was McCutchen’s fourth walk off of his career. He was quick in making his way around the bases before being mobbed at home plate and eventually given the celebratory pie to the face by A.J. Burnett.

“Considering the previous two balls I flew out at the wall. I hit the crap out of those balls and they went nowhere,” McCutchen said. “Right off my bat I just, I didn’t know.”

**

John McDonald entered the game in the 11th inning and nearly had an extra base hit, only to be robbed by a diving Ryan Braun in left field. McDonald was replaced by Brandon Inge at shortstop in the top of the 12th due to “discomfort in his lower back.”

“His back locked up when he came in the dugout so he was unable to go back out on defense,” Hurdle said.

There was no word on if McDonald would miss any time with the back problem.

**

Despite the Pirates pitiful record against the Brewers over the course of the last few seasons, more recent history is on Pittsburgh’s side. Tuesday’s win, combined with a win in the final game of its previous series against Milwaukee, gave the Pirates two wins in their last three games against their National League central rivals.

Who’s got the horseshoe up their butt now?

Author: Tom Bragg

Tom Bragg is a beat writer and analyst for PiratesProspects.com. He is the former sports editor of the (Fairmont) Times West Virginian and has worked at the Charleston Gazette, Charleston Daily Mail and the (Ashland, Ky.) Independent. His freelance work has appeared in newspapers all over West Virginia and he has written for The Associated Press with stories posted to several major media outlets (ESPN.com, SportsIllustrated.com, FoxSports.com). Tom graduated from Marshall University in May 2010 with a degree in Print Journalism. Follow Tom on Twitter: @TomBraggSports

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  • michaelbro8

    Cutch didn’t remove the horseshoe… he kicked #$* so good they’ll never find that horseshoe again !
    (Great phrase by Cutch BTW)

  • Y2JGQ2

    One question I have after seeing Cutch now for a good month is- why does it seem that balls he hits that normally are WAY gone, are warning track power? I’ve seen about 7 balls at least this year that just aren’t going out. It can’t just be the weather at PNC, did he come in a couple pounds lighter in order to maybe not wear down at the end of the year? It just seems like he’s hitting pitches and i’m saying “thats gone” and then its not. Seems to be about a 15 foot difference or so on how far his balls are traveling. Any ideas?