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Sanchez sends Pirates past Cubs in 16th inning

Pittsburgh, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Tony Sanchez ended a marathon at PNC Park 
that  lasted nearly six  hours with a pinch-hit RBI single in the 16th inning, 
as  the  Pirates outlasted the Chicago Cubs, 4-3, in another extra-inning win 
for Pittsburgh. 

Two  nights after  they edged Chicago, 1-0, on Opening Day, the Pirates plated 
the  winning  run again against  Carlos Villanueva (0-2), who surrendered Neil 
Walker's walk-off homer in the 10th on Monday. 

Jordy  Mercer singled to open the deciding frame, hustled to third on Starling 
Marte's one-out base hit and trotted home when Sanchez, in his first at-bat of 
the  season, dribbled one through a drawn-in infield to send the few remaining 
Pirates fans into a frenzy. 

This  three-game series  concludes Thursday with the first pitch set for 12:35 
p.m. (et), less than 12 hours after Sanchez's game-winner. 

It was the longest game ever played in Pittsburgh in terms of time (5:55). 

Both  teams had  plenty of  opportunities to  end the  replay-filled stalemate 
sooner.  Pittsburgh stranded  15 runners and Chicago left 19 on after going 1- 
for-16 with runners in scoring position. 

The  Pirates  were in  a pickle in  the eighth. That's  when Cubs manager Rick 
Renteria  challenged an  out call that would have resulted in an inning-ending 
double play. 

Emilio  Bonifacio  and Luis  Valbuena singled,  and the  runners advanced on a 
Starlin  Castro groundout. After  Anthony Rizzo was hit by a pitch to load the 
bases, Mark Melancon got Nate Schierholtz to hit a potential double-play ball. 
The  throw from Walker  at second base was high to Mercer covering second, but 
umpires  originally ruled  the double play when Mercer's return throw to first 
was easily in time. 

Replay,  though, showed Mercer came off the bag before he made the catch. That 
made  it a  2-1 game and put  runners at second and third, though Ryan Sweeney 
grounded softly to second to end the frame. 

Junior  Lake and  Bonifacio singled in the away ninth. With two outs, Valbuena 
singled  to tie  the game.  The Cubs  had been  0-for-19 with  men in  scoring 
position  in this  series until Valbuena's solid single to right field brought 
home Lake from second base. 

The Cubs went  ahead in the 12th. Rizzo,  who was hit by pitches twice on the 
right  thigh earlier in the contest, led off the frame by crushing a ball over 
the right field wall on the ninth pitch of the at-bat against Jeanmar Gomez. 

The  game was tied again in the bottom half thanks to Marte's line base hit to 
left  on  a 3-2  pitch  that  brought  in  pinch-runner Clint  Barmes.  Andrew 
McCutchen, last season's NL MVP, fanned with the bases full to end the inning. 

The  Pirates had  a golden opportunity to  win in the bottom of the 13th after 
loading  the bases  with nobody  out. Barmes,  though, grounded  into a  7-2-3 
double  play  after the Cubs brought  in a fifth  infielder. Jose Tabata then 
grounded into a force play to send the game to the 14th. 

Lake fanned to leave runners at the corners in the top of the 14th. 

Charlie  Morton  pitched six  shutout innings for  Pittsburgh. He allowed four 
hits,  a  walk and  had six  strikeouts, and was  cruising until being removed 
after  the top of the sixth when a line drive from Schierholtz caromed off his 
glove and resulted in a double play. 

Edwin  Jackson threw the  first 5 1/3 frames for the Cubs and gave up just two 
hits, but walked four while fanning five. 

Pittsburgh's  first two  runs came on a  Mercer single in the second and on an 
error  in the  sixth. The ball went  by the glove of Castro, allowing Marte to 
come home. 

                                   Game Notes 

Bonifacio  went  5-for-7 with a run  scored. The Cubs infielder is 9-for-12 in 
the  first  two games ... The Cubs used eight relievers while Pittsburgh used 
six ... The Cubs recorded 15 hits to Pittsburgh's eight. 

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