The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local Sports

September 30, 2012

McCutchen hits winning HR in 9th, Pirates top Reds

PITTSBURGH — Andrew McCutchen kept a 20th straight losing season by the Pittsburgh Pirates at bay for at least a few more hours.

The All-Star centerfielder hit a solo home run off Cincinnati reliever Jonathan Broxton with one out in the ninth inning to lift the Pirates over the Reds 2-1 Saturday night.

Two innings after a powerful drive to left-center died at the wall, McCutchen took a 2-2 fastball from Broxton and sent it into the seats in right-center for his 31st homer of the season.

“I just kept running until it went out,” McCutchen said.

A day after getting no-hit by Cincinnati’s Homer Bailey, the Pirates won with eight hits. McCutchen was greeted by a mob of teammates after hitting Pittsburgh’s third game-ending homer of the season, though he deftly avoided the brunt of a Gatorade bath while doing a postgame on-field interview.

Joel Hanrahan (5-1) worked out of a two-on, two-out jam in the ninth, setting the stage for McCutchen. Pedro Alvarez had two hits for the Pirates, who won for just the seventh time this month.

“Wins have been hard to come by,” said Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle. “We didn’t let this one get away after we took the one-run lead and they came back and tied it in the eighth. We were able to answer back. It was a good team victory tonight.”

Cincinnati, trying to keep pace with the Washington Nationals in the race for the National League’s best record, again struggled to score runs.

The Reds wrapped up the NL Central earlier in the week but have now scored just five times in their last four games and now trail the Nationals by one game for homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.

“We want to make sure guys get their at-bats to try to get ready and get things rolling,” said acting Cincinnati manager Chris Speier. “We still have some time. We’d sure like to see it turn around sooner than later.”

A lone run on Friday was more than enough to preserve Bailey’s gem, and a game-tying single in the eighth by Scott Rolen on Saturday appeared to the Reds life. The Pirates loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning off Cincinnati reliever Logan Ondrusek, but Starling Marte popped out harmlessly in foul territory.

Hanrahan came on in a rare non-save situation and worked around a couple of walks to get to the bottom of the ninth. Josh Harrison lined sharply to center to lead off the inning and McCutchen smacked a Broxton offering into the stands to help the Pirates improve to 77-81.

“That’s the way it goes,” Rolen said. “Hanrahan is out there. He’s throwing the ball well. He’s had a great year. There’s no easy at bats when he’s out there. We put something together and then they came back and got us there in the bottom.”

Pittsburgh needs to win its final four games to avoid extending the longest losing season streak in North American professional sports history, and the Pirates’ seventh walk-off win of the season improved their record to just 14-34 since Aug. 8.

Back then Pittsburgh was trying to track down the Reds for the division lead. The bottom fell out shortly thereafter and getting no-hit for the first time on Friday night provided an ugly exclamation point on a collapse that turned a once-promising season into one that would end without a winning record for the 20th straight time.

While the Reds focus on the playoffs, Pittsburgh is already working on next season.

Kyle McPherson, who is trying to get a jumpstart one of the open rotation spots in 2013, finally found some solid footing in his third big-league start. The 24-year-old failed to get out of the fifth inning in each of his previous two outings due to command issues that led to bloated pitch counts.

There were no such problems against the Reds. Cincinnati led off the first with a pair of sharply hit singles but couldn’t score, and McPherson allowed just four hits over his six innings of work, striking five and walking just one.

“He’s got to feel good about himself after tonight’s performance,” Hurdle said. “He went six innings through the Central Division champions lineup. He’s got what you’re looking for, you just have to sprinkle some experience on it.”

Problem was, the Pirates couldn’t get anything going off Mike Leake. Pittsburgh ended any chance of getting no-hit for a second straight night early when Josh Harrison singled with one out in the first, but otherwise Leake matched McPherson zero for zero as he tried to make a case for postseason playing time.

“I hope we stay in it for the whole time so that I can put some significant role into it,” Leake said. “I’ve just got to hope I make it in the bullpen or hope we make it into the second round so I can play a role.”

The Pirates finally took the lead in the seventh on a RBI-double by Alex Presley, but Jason Grilli gave it away an inning later when Rolen’s single to left scored pinch runner Denis Phipps.

NOTES: The series concludes today. Johnny Cueto (19-9, 2.83 ERA) starts for Cincinnati against Pittsburgh’s Wandy Rodriguez (12-13, 3.79) ... The Pirates drew their 17th season sellout of the season on Saturday and topped 2 million in attendance for the fourth time in franchise history.

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
  • Penguins 0421 Penguins finish hot to grab 2-1 series lead

    Brandon Sutter, Lee Stempniak and Jussi Jokinen scored in a span of 2:13 of the third period to revive the Penguins from yet another two-goal deficit in a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0421 Pirates walk off against Reds to halt home skid

    Ike Davis became the first player to hit grand slams for different teams in the same April, and Neil Walker had a winning run single with two outs in the ninth inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates twice overcame deficits to beat the Reds 6-5 Monday night.
    Pittsburgh trailed 2-0 before Davis’ fourth-inning homer off Mike Leake.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sitting Bulls bring home national sled hockey title

    The Johnstown Sitting Bulls disabled sled hockey team recently won a national championship.
    The team, comprised of disabled athletes from Cambria, Somerset, Indiana, Bedford and Blair counties, finished first in the Youth B Division at the USA Hockey National Disabled Hockey Festival held April 11-13 in Marlborough, Mass.

    April 21, 2014

  • Local Sports Briefs

    April 21, 2014

  • Pirates Brawl 0420 Brewers top Pirates in game highlighted by dustup

    Ryan Braun homered in the ninth inning to tie it, then Khris Davis hit a home run in the 14th that put Milwaukee ahead for good.
    Yet those were hardly the big blows that attracted all the attention Sunday in the Brewers’ 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Football team ends boycott of embattled coach

    Minnesota State University-Mankato’s football team has ended its boycott of reinstated head coach Todd Hoffner, who successfully fought child pornography charges and other misconduct accusations that removed him from the job for 20 months.
    Hoffner said he assured the players, who refused to take the practice field Wednesday, that interim coach Aaron Keen, who led the team in Hoffner’s absence, will continue in a major role with the team.

    April 20, 2014

  • Penguins 0420a Game 3 pivotal for both teams

    Not so long ago, the Columbus Blue Jackets were the worst team in the NHL.
    Now they’re heading home for tonight’s Game 3 of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series with the star-studded Pittsburgh Penguins, hoping to make even more history.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0419 Blue Jackets outlast Pens in double-OT

    Matt Calvert banged home a rebound 1:10 into the second overtime and the Columbus Blue Jackets earned the first playoff victory in franchise history with a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.
    Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury stuffed the initial shot by Cam Atkinson but Calvert stood all alone at the left post and wristed a shot into the open net to even the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at one game each.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0419 Brewers rally to clip Pirates

    Ryan Braun hit two homers, including a two-run shot with two outs in the ninth inning that sent the Milwaukee Brewers over the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 Saturday night.
    Braun has five home runs this season after being suspended for the last 65 games of 2013 following Major League Baseball’s investigation into the Biogenesis drug scandal.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Area runners gearing for Boston Marathon

    The time was 12:15 p.m. It was Monday April 19, 1897.  Tom Burke had drawn a line across the dirt road with his foot. Eighteen men gathered near Metcalf’s Mill in Ashland, Massachusetts.

    April 19, 2014