9th inning rally gives Bucs win over Cubs
The Pirates beat the Cubs, 5-4, at Wrigley Field on Sunday after a two run rally in the 9th inning.
Cubs closer Carlos Marmol, who shut the Bucs down 1-2-3 in the previous game, walked the lead off batter, Garrett Jones. Neil Walker followed with a single and Lyle Overbay advanced both runners over with a sac bunt.
Pedro Alvarez hit an infield single which scored two runs –including Walker who scored from second base– to take the lead a 5-4 lead.
Manager Clint Hurdle told Root Sports, “It goes back to the aggressive base running. Trying to be smart, trying to be aggressive…Nick’s [Leyva] a very aggressive third base coach and Neil plays the game that way, when he’s on the bases. Once he saw the play develop from second base, he knew there was a very good shot that he might be able to pull something off. And he did. He’s a ballplayer.”
Alvarez told Stan Savran of Root Sports, “He’s [Marmol] a tough pitcher. I think we just did a good job of trying to figure our pitches. He’s one of the best pitchers, closers out there. When we stick to our approach and swing at strikes and balls that we can hit, I think it goes to show you. We’ll get the walks when needed and we’ll get the big hits when necessary.”
“We stayed resilient. We battled and we played to the end.”
With two runners on, Joel Hanrahan forced Marlon Byrd to hit into a game ending double play tp give the Pirates a 5-4 victory and pick up his second save of the season.
The Bucs combined for 16 hits –all singles– and picked up their first road series victory. A rare feat that happened just four times last season (And hasn’t happened since July 27-29th in Colorado last year).
Ross Ohlendorf made his first start of the season after a rocky spring training. He allowed four runs on eight hits over six innings with four walks (one intentional) and three strikeouts.
Ohlendorf told Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune, “I didn’t show him much in spring training, but I’m planning to do well from now on. I feel like I did better than I’ve been doing.”
Hurdle told Root Sports, “He was building confidence today…That was the best he’s thrown, I’ve ever seen him throw. The things he worked on the side with Ray [Searage] came into play. His direction to the plate, his sink, his command.”
With a 2-0 lead in the 4th inning, Ohlendorf ran into trouble. After allowing three straight singles, and the bases loaded with no outs, Carlos Pena hit a two run double off the right field wall just feet from a grand slam. Pena’s hit was just several feet from a grand slam. Right fielder Garrett Jones jumped to catch the ball and during the play a Cubs fan in the stands spilt his beer on Jones head while reaching for the ball.
Ohlendorf worked out of the inning, not allowing anymore runs to score and keep it a 2-2 game.
Lyle Overbay hit a RBI single to score Jose Tabata in the 5th to take a 3-2 lead but the Cubs fought back in the bottom of the inning. Starlin Castro hit a lead off triple and Darwin Barney hit a sac fly to quickly tie the game back up at 3.
The Cubs tacked on another run in the 6th after Rafael Soriano hit a solo home run off of Ohlendorf.
“It was supposed to be down and away,” Ohlendorf told Root Sports. “It was up. Probably middle away. He did a good job hitting it.”
After a tough loss to the Cubs the night before, a comeback win today means a lot to the players.
Alvarez told Root Sports, “It shows character. We gotta’ play all 9. We gotta’ play all 27 outs…That’s the beauty about baseball. You come back the next day and you either redeem yourself or you keep the ball rollin’. Tomorrow we’ll try to keep the ball rollin’ with another W. I can’t stress enough, we just have to play nine, every game.”
Joel Hanrhan added, “Anytime you can start off the season with a road series win is awesome. Especially with all the stuff that has been said about us and our record last year on the road. Our goal is to go out there and win a series. We were fortunate to do that here and we’ll go to St. Louis and try to do that again.”