The Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Cincinnati Reds 6-4 in twelve innings on a Starling Marte 2-run home run.
The Reds would get the first hit of the ballgame in the top of the second inning when Jay Bruce singled to right field off of Pirates starting pitcher Francisco Liriano. Eugenio Suarez would come to the plate next. Suarez would drive the very first pitch from Liriano deep to center field for a two run home run giving the Reds a 2-0 lead.
The Reds put together a few hits in the top of the third inning. Joey Votto singled with one out. With two outs, Brandon Phillips singled. Then, Jay Bruce came to the plate delivered an RBI double to center field to extend the Reds lead to 3-0. Eugenio Suarez hit an RBI single to center that scored Phillips giving the Reds a 4-0 lead after three innings.
The Pirates would get on the board in the bottom of the fourth. Andrew McCutchen would hit his 23rd home run of the season off of Keyvius Sampson. The Pirates trailed 4-1 after four innings.
Francisco Liriano would see his night come to an end after going five innings and giving up four runs on seven hits and five strikeouts. His replacement, Jared Hughes would pitch the top of the sixth and allow a hit, a walk and strikeout two.
Starling Marte would lead off the bottom of the sixth with a bunt single. Andrew McCutchen followed with a single. Aramis Ramirez walked to load the bases and chase the Reds starting pitcher Sampson. Tony Cingrani would take over on the mound for the Reds. Michael Morse would be issued a five pitch walk that scored Marte. Pedro Alvarez grounded into a force out that scored McCutchen. Jumbo Diaz would replace Cingrani for the Reds. Jordy Mercer would hit a single that scored Ramirez to tie the game at 4-4.
The Pirates would use Joakim Soria, Tony Watson and Mark Melancon for the seventh, eighth and ninth respectively.
Neither team would score again and we would head for extra innings. In the top of the eleventh, the Pirates would have Antonio Bastardo on the mound. Adam Duvall singled. With two outs, Tyler Holt walked and Joey Votto was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Bastardo would get Todd Frazier to fly out to Andrew McCutchen on a deep fly ball to the warning track in right center field to end the inning.
Arquimedes Caminero came on to pitch the top of the twelfth. He would face just three batters and get two ground outs and a line out.
In the bottom of the twelfth, Gregory Polanco walked to start the inning. Starling Marte blasted the first pitch he saw from Collin Balester to right field for a walk off two run home run.
What Stood Out
The Pirates bullpen continued to show why they are one of the best. Hughes, Soria, Watson, Melancon, Bastardo and Caminero all saw action and did not allow a run.
Starling Marte made a superb running, and reaching down to the ground, catch in the top of the twelfth on a line drive that was hit by Jay Bruce. Some would say that Marte then carried that momentum to the plate in the bottom of the twelfth when he hit the game winner.
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This was the twenty-first extra innings game for the Pirates this season.
The Chicago Cubs defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 6-1. This game ended while the Pirates/Reds were in extra innings. This made the game a must-win for the Pirates to keep the lead. The Pirates magic number to clinch the Wild Card game at home is one.
On a side note, the Atlanta Braves beat the St Louis Cardinals 4-0. Jason Heyward, Jhonny Peralta, Matt Holliday, Matt Carpenter and Kolten Wong were not in the lineup.
Saturday night is expected to be a big night in Pittsburgh. This will be a matchup of pitchers who are at opposite ends of their careers. AJ Burnett will be making in his final regular season start at PNC Park as he is expected to retire once the season ends. For the Reds, Brandon Finnegan will make his fourth career start. Pittsburgh Pirates fans have decided to give Burnett a proper farewell by declaring that the game be #BATOUTPNC.