The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local Sports

July 25, 2013

Pirates’ winning streak ends with walk-off

WASHINGTON — Manager Clint Hurdle’s Pittsburgh Pirates began the game 0 for 12 with runners in scoring position before coming through in the clutch late.

They fell behind 4-0 against the Washington Nationals while committing three errors in the first inning. Then the Pirates trailed 7-3 heading into the ninth inning, before rallying to tie the game.

And it all meant nothing in the end, because Bryce Harper hit a game-ending, two-run homer off reliever Bryan Morris with two outs in the ninth to give Washington a 9-7 victory on Thursday.

“Unfortunately, you know, it’s kind of sometimes like pickup basketball,” Hurdle said. “They had the ball last.”

He and Nationals manager Davey Johnson both were ejected on a wild afternoon.

The Pirates had won four games in a row, but they couldn’t finish off a sweep of the Nationals.

One problem was trying to overcome what Hurdle called “our worst inning on the field this season.”

Briefly breaking out of a slump that had seen it score a total of 13 runs while going 0-6 since the All-Star break, Washington batted around to go ahead 4-0 against A.J. Burnett after one inning. First baseman Gaby Sanchez, second baseman Jordy Mercer and third baseman Pedro Alvarez each committed an error, meaning only one run was earned.

After Burnett hit Harper with a pitch, Steve Lombardozzi followed with a bunt single. Harper strayed too far off second, getting caught in a rundown. But shortstop Clint Barmes’ throw got past Alvarez, who was charged with an error. That allowed Harper to come all the way around to score, and Lombardozzi wound up on second. Ryan Zimmerman’s opposite-field single made it 2-0.

Two outs later, Ian Desmond, who missed Wednesday’s game because of a burst blister on his left palm, singled. And Denard Span, struggling so much he was dropped from the leadoff spot to No. 7 in the batting order, singled to right. Two runs scored on the play, making it 4-0, because of Sanchez’s throwing error.

The next batter, Kurt Suzuki, reached on Mercer’s fielding mistake, making it the first time since July 4, 2011, against Houston, that the Pirates made three errors in an inning.

Took that kind of sloppiness for the Nationals’ slumbering offense to wake up.

Still, the Pirates made a game of it despite twice trailing by four runs. In the ninth, Nationals closer Rafael Soriano was charged with four runs while getting only one out. Soriano walked the first two batters, then gave up Mercer’s run-scoring double and Russell Martin’s RBI single, Pittsburgh’s first hits of the day with runners in scoring position.

Nationals bench coach Randy Knorr, who took over after Johnson was tossed in the fifth, then lifted Soriano and turned to rookie Ian Krol (1-0). A walk loaded the bases, and Josh Harrison – who homered earlier – tied the game with a two-run single.

But in the ninth, Harper delivered the first game-ending homer of his career, putting a pitch from Morris (4-4) over the wall just to the left of straightaway center.

“I was attacking him with it, and he put a good swing on it,” Morris said, “and he hit to the deepest part of the park.”

Harper raised his right fist overhead as he rounded first base and was mobbed by a bouncing pack of teammates as he reached home plate.

It was his 14th homer of the season, and first since July 1, the day he came off the disabled list after missing time with a left knee injury.

“Great to get the ‘W’ today. We really needed it,” said Harper, who sat out Wednesday because of the bothersome knee.

“Hopefully this one will carry on into tomorrow and the next day.”

Johnson left the game when he came out of the dugout while Desmond was arguing a called third strike. Hurdle got ejected in the seventh after Alvarez was thrown out at first while veering too far toward second base after a single.

It was that kind of game.

“It looked, for me, like he was looking to check the ball – if it was going to go through, into the outfield. Once he didn’t see it go through, stay in the infield ... he squared right up and ran through the bag,” Hurdle said. “So that was argument.”

Notes: Burnett wound up going seven innings, allowing only one earned run. ... Pirates RHP Vic Black made his major league debut, entering with two outs in the eighth. ...  Gonzalez’s 11 strikeouts equaled his career high. ... The Pirates open a three-game series at Miami tonight, with Pittsburgh LHP Jeff Locke (9-2, 2.11) starting against RHP Henderson Alvarez (0-1, 3.28).

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local Sports
  • Pirates 0417 Pirates power past Brewers

    Andrew McCutchen hit his first homer of the season and drove in three runs, Pedro Alvarez had a three-run shot and pinch-hitter Josh Harrison broke a tie with a long ball in the seventh inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates handed the Milwaukee Brewers their first road loss, 11-2 on Thursday night.
    Harrison’s two-run drive down the left field line off Rob Wooten (0-1) was the second of his career as a pinch hitter.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0417 Jackets preparing for Game 2

    The Columbus Blue Jackets don’t feel they’re doomed after blowing a two-goal lead in a Game 1 loss of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
    “It’s not about missed chances, or feeling sorry about it,” goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky said at Thursday’s optional workout, 13 hours after falling 4-3 in Pittsburgh.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local Sports Briefs

    April 17, 2014

  • racin 0416 Jennerstown Speedway gearing for May open

    Jennerstown Speedway released a very ambitious schedule on its website and continues to prepare for its 2014 reopening.
    The track is set to hold a practice day for drivers as well as an open house and media day on April 26.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘Hawks already building toward next season

    Jason Spence used up his cell phone’s battery on a trip from Johnstown to his parents’ home in Nova Scotia, Canada.
    Once the Johnstown Tomahawks coach got to his destination, Spence had to get creative to secure cell service across the border.

    April 16, 2014

  • Pirates 0416 Dominant Cueto drops Pirates in matinee

    That playoff loss in Pittsburgh last year? Johnny Cueto never thought about it much. So getting a chance to shut out the Pirates in a rematch wasn’t any more special.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0416 Penguins rally to wear out Jackets

    Brandon Sutter scored on a wrist shot from the left circle 8:18 into the third period, helping the Pittsburgh Penguins rally for a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on Wednesday night.
    Beau Bennett and Matt Niskanen scored power-play goals 45 seconds apart in the second period, erasing Pittsburgh’s two-goal deficit.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shelley and McElligot Series serves as reunion for former Chiefs personnel

    Not so long ago, Bob McElligott, like most Western Pennsylvania hockey fans, would savor a long Pittsburgh Penguins playoff run.
    The Somerset native followed the Pens’ Stanley Cup-winning teams in 1991 and 1992.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Malkin nearing return

    The Columbus Blue Jackets are the closest NHL team to the Pittsburgh Penguins, at least geographically. The two franchises are separated by 185 miles of highway.

    April 15, 2014

  • Reds swing way past Pirates

    Mike Leake doubled and hit a two-run homer Tuesday night, ending Gerrit Cole's winning streak and leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 7-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates that completed two days full of homers and delays.
    First, the NL Central rivals completed a game that was suspended in the sixth inning because of rain the previous night.

    April 15, 2014

AP Video
Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez Dead at 87 Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later
Poll

Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide