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
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
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
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.