Both teams blew chances. Both teams had the lead. But when it was over, Andrew McCutchen’s walk off homer in the 12th provided the last, final run and a Bucco victory. The win evened the Pirates record at 30-30.
Former Pirate Zach Duke returned to PNC for the first time since being traded last off-season. He and Paul Maholm both pitched effectively. Maholm was sharper but was victimized again by poor run support and a blown save out of the bullpen.
Pittsburgh wasted some early chances against Duke. Jose Tabata and McCutchen both singled in the first. The rally fizzled when Tabata was caught stealing third. A fly ball from Neil Walker ended the inning. In the second, Chris Snyder singled and was tossed out trying to go for a double. He also injured his back on the play and would leave the game in the fourth inning. Lyle Overbay immediately doubled, but Ronny Cedeno’s tapper back to Duke ended the inning.
Pittsburgh finally got one in the third. Tabata and Josh Harrison singled. McCutchen hit a sac fly to score Tabata and give Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead. More frustration followed in the fifth. Matt Diaz singled but was erased on an unassisted double play when Dusty Brown – in for Snyder – lined out to first baseman Juan Miranda. Overbay was plunked and Cedeno doubled. But Maholm was retired to end the side.
Maholm emerged unscathed. He gave up just one hit and three walks in six innings. He struck out four. Chris Resop tossed a perfect seventh in relief of Maholm. Jose Veras was on in the eighth and blew the lead. He walked Kelly Johnson. Willie Bloomquist successfully bunted him over. Pinch hitters Stephen Drew singled in the tying run. After Veras plunked Justin Upton, he was pulled for Tony Watson, making his Major League debut. He coolly whiffed both Chris Young and Juan Miranda to end the inning.
Johnson and Drew were at it again in the tenth. Daniel Moskos gave up a lead off single to Johnson. He was bunted to second by Ian Kennedy and Drew again singled him home. But the Pirates knotted it in the home half of the inning. McCutchen hit a one out double and was knocked in by a single from Walker.
Daniel McCutchen danced into and out of trouble in the eleventh. He gave up a lead off double and a single to put runners on the corners with no one out. But he struck out Ryan Roberts and got a 3-4-3 double play from Johnson. He also put runners on the corners in the twelfth, but struck out Sean Burroughs to end the inning.
Andrew McCutchen led off the bottom of the twelfth and promply ended it with his dinger, making a loser of Zach Kroenke.
Maholm and Duke both received a no decision. Duke gave up nine hits in seven innings, but allowed just one run. He walked none and struck out none. McCutchen was the winner in relief.
.500! I can’t say it or write it enough.
McCutchen had three hits. He scored twice and drove home two.
Tabata singled four times.
Brandon Wood had a pair of hits.
Welcome Tony Watson!
Not getting run support for Maholm.
Blowing a lead for Maholm.
Maholm is winless against Arizona in three career appearances. Duke had never faced his old team before.
McCutchen has a seven game hitting streak and is 15-29 on the month, pulling his average up nearly 40 points.
This was Tabata’s second career four hit game.
The Pirates were 23-37 after 60 games last year. They were 28-32 in 2009.