video thumbnail

ARI@PIT: D-backs drop a tough one in the 12th

PITTSBURGH -- Andrew McCutchen hit a 12th-inning walk-off home run to lift the Pirates to a 3-2 victory over the D-backs on Wednesday night at PNC Park.

Lefty Zach Kroenke, the seventh D-backs pitcher of the evening, surrendered the home run to McCutchen and was tagged with the loss, falling to 0-1 on the season.

"The pitch was a slider," Kroenke lamented. "We were hoping that he was cheating on the heater and apparently he wasn't -- he sat back on it and put good wood on it."

McCutchen wasn't sure it was going to get out of the park.

"No, not at first," McCutchen said of his home run. "I didn't hit it that good. I hit it off the end a little bit. I got just enough of it. Just enough," he said.

"Everybody played great," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "Kelly and Stephen came in, and I've got my closer in the game, I've got my best defense in the game. We were in good position. McCutchen, give him credit. He hit a double off our closer and he hit a home run. He's a pretty damned good player."

Both teams had seesawed back and forth in extra innings.

McCutchen stroked a one-out double off D-backs closer J.J. Putz in the bottom of the 10th inning. Neil Walker then singled to tie the score at 2. It was only the second blown save for Putz in 19 opportunities.

"Falling behind McCutchen wasn't ideal," Putz explained. "He hit a good pitch and sliced one down the line, just fair. It's a game of inches and Walker hit a hanging split right back up the box. It was not a very good pitch."

Kelly Johnson then singled off Pirates reliever Daniel Moskos to lead off the top of the 10th inning. He was sacrificed to second and Stephen Drew delivered a single to center field to put Arizona up, 2-1.

Trailing 1-0 entering the eighth, D-backs pinch-hitter Johnson drew a walk off Pirates reliever Jose Veras. Willie Bloomquist sacrificed Johnson to second. Pinch-hitter Drew then singled, knocking in Johnson to tie the score at 1. Veras drilled Chris Young with a pitch, placing runners at first and second. Pirates lefty Tony Watson, making his Major League debut, ended the threat by striking out Chris Young and Juan Miranda.

"I was like, 'Just get a pitch and put it out in the middle and hit it to left center'," Drew said. "So I wasn't trying to do too much. I wasn't trying to do too much and it worked out."

Starting pitchers Paul Maholm of the Bucs and Zach Duke of the D-backs didn't figure into the decision. The two lefties first played together in the Minor Leagues in 2004, and both were both called up in 2005. The two pitched in the same rotation through the 2010 season before Duke was traded to Arizona last winter.

"We both pitched well," Maholm said. "He battled. He had runners on. He made his pitches. He did what he does and that's what you've seen him do for so long here. "

Maholm tossed six innings and allowed no runs and one hit. He recorded four strikeouts.

"Maholm threw the ball very well," Duke explained. "He kept us off-balance very well and we got one hit off him. He did a very good job, but thankfully we were able to break through in the later innings and get to the 12th inning."

Duke pitched seven innings and surrendered one run while scattering nine hits.

"I felt good, and it's a very familiar place for me to pitch," Duke stated. "I felt very comfortable. The location was off a little bit the first couple of innings, but thankfully I was able to get through it and settle into a nice rhythm and give us a chance."

"Zach did a great job," Gibson said. "He didn't walk anybody and he only struck out one, I think. But he had them off-balance. He did a great job."

The Pirates jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning and held on to it until the eighth. With one out, Jose Tabata singled. Josh Harrison followed with a single, sending Tabata to third base. McCutchen then lofted a sacrifice fly to left to score Tabata.

Pirates right-hander Daniel McCutchen, the last of seven hurlers used by the Pirates, got the victory to up his record to 2-1.

The D-backs have now lost three in a row, and will try to leave Pittsburgh with a win on Thursday night.

"It's disappointing, yet it's not like we played a terrible game," Gibson said. "Everybody knows they missed their opportunity, so we'll be motivated to get through it tomorrow." Comments