The magic continues to happen in Pittsburgh and it seems to becoming a trend for the Pirates over the last week and a half. Each night there is a different hero.
This time, it was Russell Martin who came through for the Pittsburgh Pirates with a 2-out walk-off single to left as they completed a three-game sweep of the Miami Marlins Thursday, 5-4 in ten innings.
His single down the left field line drove in Josh Harrison marking another comeback win. Martin was the last bench player for Manager Clint Hurdle and came up to pinch-hit with two aboard.
“I love those situations, that’s why I play the game,” Martin said. “I just looked for a pitch that was a little bit elevated and I put good wood on it.”
The Pirates completed this successful home stand with a record of 9-2 and remain three and a half games ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Central. For the third consecutive game, the Pirates had to come from behind as they trailed 4-0 midway through the game.
“It’s just the attitude of this team, we’ve got confidence and we know that we are never out of it until the last out,” Harrison said, who got a second consecutive start in right field. “It’s a blessing, we’ve got a great group of guys and it’s fun getting to go out there and battle with them everyday.”
Starter Garrit Cole pitched five innings and gave up four earned runs on six hits, walked one and struck out four.
Once again, the bullpen played a major role in the win. The relievers pitched five innings of shutout ball surrendering just three hits, two walks and five strikeouts. Jared Hughes (2-2) got the win after a perfect tenth inning.
“It’s a luxury that a lot of teams don’t have,” Cole said. “I feel bad, I kind of left them out to dry, but when all said and done we had a chance to win the game and we did.”
Miami jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning before Christian Yelich launched his first Major League home run in the top of the fifth, extending their lead by four.
Pittsburgh finally answered with the bats in the bottom of the fifth when Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez hit back-to-back RBI singles to cut the lead in half. They would go on to tie the game in the seventh with a pair of sacrifice flies.
Marlins starter and All-Star Jose Fernandez pitched five innings giving up two runs on five hits, walked four and struck out five.
Hurdle said after the game their strategy was to get him out of the game early.
“We elevated the pitch count to get him out after five with some lengthy at-bats and scoring some runs in the middle of the game to push that and get us into the bullpen.”
It was the 28th comeback win for the Pirates this season and their ninth walk-off win. The offense has shown tendency to fall short at times but the bats have been finding multiple ways to do get it done over the last 11 games.
“I think it’s just our mindset,” Hurdle said. “Offensively we know we have work to do, we’re going to keep grinding it out with the bats the best way we can.”
Pittsburgh (70-44) will hit the road this weekend to take on the Colorado Rockies. Francisco Liriano (12-4) will face Jorge De La Rosa (10-6) in Game 1 Friday.