Make it 51. Russell Martin drove in Gaby Sanchez in the 14th inning with a pinch-hit single to lead the Pirates to a 2-1 win Sunday against the Milwaukee Brewers at PNC Park, their ninth in a row. The win completed a three-game sweep of the series and, at the start of July, ensured the Pirates (51-30) still have the best record in baseball. Martin came in to pinch-hit for reliever Tony Watson, and drove an 0-1 pitch up the middle as Sanchez rounded third with every ounce of speed he could muster. Sanchez had stolen second to reach scoring position, and scored before a play at the plate. "When it gets late, you've got to take some chances," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "It was heads-up, not that he knows he's going to steal. He gets on on an infield hit, steals second. Then Martin rolls another base hit [in] a game he doesn't start. It's stuff that you can't make up." It was a long day for the Pirates, who endured more than a two-hour rain delay long before extra innings. They got 12 innings of scoreless relief from most of their bullpen. Jeff Locke -- scheduled to start Tuesday -- was next in line if Martin hadn't ended it. "I was ready about three innings ago," Martin said. "I was ready the last time the pitcher spot came up. I was just anxiously waiting for an opportunity. "It's fun. Winning is fun, but just being on a team with a bunch of guys who play with their hearts out there, enjoy the game, it's definitely been a pleasure." Vin Mazzaro took the mound after the delay -- in relief of starter Charlie Morton -- and retired 15 consecutive batters through five innings. That set the tone for the standout performance by the bullpen. Justin Wilson, Bryan Morris, Jason Grilli and Mark Melancon each pitched in an inning of scoreless relief and Tony Watson pitched in three. "We knew we were going to have to cover some innings anyway," Watson said. "Everybody just went out there and competed. ... I was just trying to keep Jeff Locke out of the game and preserve him for Tuesday." The Pirates trailed until the eighth when Andrew McCutchen hit a two-out single that drove in Starling Marte to tie the score. McCutchen was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. The Pirates missed on two prime opportunities before Martin's winning hit.
Pirates win, 2-1, in 14th, sweep series with Brewers
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | Jul 1