Alex Presley's walk-off single marched the Pirates right into first place. Presley smacked a bouncing ball that glanced off reliever Kevin Siegrist's glove and into shallow left field scoring Russell Martin in the 11th inning to give the Pirates a 2-1 victory against the Cardinals on Tuesday night in the first game of a doubleheader. With the win the Pirates (63-42) grabbed their second consecutive win to start a five-game series against the Cardinals (62-42) and if only briefly the outright lead in the National League Central Division. The teams were to play another game late Tuesday night. "This is a great baseball town" manager Clint Hurdle said. "This was a great baseball town for a long time. We're making every effort to make it a great baseball town again. ??? We've covered some distance but we've got more to cover." With one out in the 11th inning Siegrist issued back-to-back walks to Martin and Gaby Sanchez bringing Presley to the plate for the walk-off opportunity. After fighting his way to a full count Presley hit a dribbler up the middle of the infield that looked like a double play opportunity for the Cardinals. But Siegrist tried to snag the ball out of the air and deflected it away from second base allowing Martin to score and the Pirates to celebrate. A.J. Burnett who started the game for the Pirates smashed a pie into Presley's face just moments after he drove in Martin to give the Pirates the win. Burnett allowed one earned run on three hits in seven innings striking out nine and walking three in his sharpest outing since returning from the disabled list earlier this month from a right calf strain. He threw 113 pitches 71 for strikes and had words with home-plate umpire Eric Cooper and third-base umpire Jeff Kellogg in the sixth inning when Cooper allowed Jon Jay to scamper to second base after Burnett rung him up for strike three. The third pitch -- a swinging strike -- hit Jay on his left foot and bounced away from the plate but Cooper ruled the pitch a dropped-third strike as Jay raced all the way to second base with no outs. Major League Baseball Rule 6.05 (f) states the batter is out if he attempts to swing at a third strike and the ball touches him. Cooper determined the ball did not touch Jay though video replay showed otherwise. Martin did not hurry to retrieve the ball because he believed it should be a dead ball after hitting Jay. Hurdle protested and the umpires conferred before upholding the play. After the play Burnett barked at Cooper who walked toward the mound with his finger wagging at Burnett. "I don't think they wanted to talk to me very much" Burnett said. "They didn't see it. Nobody saw it. We're all human we make mistakes."
Pirates take 1st game of doubleheader with 2-1 thriller over Cards
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | Jul 31