|Date of game: 5/21/2014
Recap: Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore
Pittsburgh, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Tony Sanchez's single in the bottom of the seventh inning drove in the deciding run and lifted the Pittsburgh Pirates to a wild 9-8 decision over the Baltimore Orioles at PNC Park.
Starling Marte and Ike Davis each went 3-for-4 with two RBI to help Pittsburgh erupt for an 8-6 lead after two innings of play, and neither team scored again until Baltimore's J.J. Hardy and Steve Pearce each ripped RBI singles in the top of the seventh.
Andrew McCutchen also collected three hits, including an RBI double, to offset a brutal stint by Pirates starter Wandy Rodriguez.
Rodriguez was rocked for six runs on seven hits before exiting after only 1 2/3 innings, though only one run was earned due to a costly error he committed that enabled the Orioles to score six times in the second.
Chris Tillman was equally ineffective for Baltimore, however, permitting eight runs -- six earned -- on six hits and three walks before being yanked with no one out in the bottom of the second.
"It was a tough night for him," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Tillman said. "It just never really came to him tonight."
Nelson Cruz finished 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBI to pace the Orioles offensively. Chris Davis, coming off a three-homer performance in Baltimore's 9-2 win in Tuesday's opener of this two-game set, and Nick Markakis each ended 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Brad Brach kept the Orioles in striking distance by tossing four scoreless innings in relief of Tillman, and Brian Matusz pitched a goose egg in the sixth to set the stage for Baltimore's rally an inning later.
Chris Davis opened the seventh with a double and Cruz singled off Bryan Morris (4-0) before Hardy slashed a base hit through the left side that pulled the O's within, 8-7. Following a sacrifice and an intentional walk that loaded the bases, Pearce sent a flare to short right field in a pinch-hit situation.
Cruz scored easily from third on the hit, but Pittsburgh's Josh Harrison gunned down Hardy at the plate to keep it an 8-8 game.
Singles from Marte and Ike Davis set up Sanchez's go-ahead single against Ryan Webb (2-1) in the bottom of the seventh, with Tony Watson and Mark Melancon keeping Baltimore off the board from there.
Tillman was coming off a five-hit shutout in Kansas City on Friday, but clearly didn't have it on this night. He issued a leadoff walk to Harrison and served up a deep double to McCutchen two batters afterward that knocked in the first of four Pittsburgh runs in the opening inning.
Pedro Alvarez followed with a single in front of Marte's triple into the right-field corner that quickly made it a 3-0 lead before Ike Davis slashed a single to right to extend the margin.
Baltimore came firing back in the top of the second, though, with Cruz starting a six-run frame with his 14th homer of the season, which preceded a Hardy double and a Jonathan Scoop single.
One out later, Rodriguez threw wildly to first on Tillman's sacrifice attempt to load the bases and open the floodgates, as Manny Machado plated a run after Markakis' sac fly and Chris Davis delivered an RBI single following a walk to Adam Jones that evened the contest at 4-4. Cruz then laced a hard smash off the third-base bag for a double that sent home Machado and Jones.
Pittsburgh promptly loaded the bases in its half of the inning, however, on a walk and McCutchen single around Chris Davis' error. That set up Alvarez's game-tying base hit to center which ended Tillman's rough evening.
"We just kept battling and focusing on what we could control," Ike Davis said.Game Notes
The Pirates stopped a six-game losing streak in the series, having last beaten
the Orioles on June 22, 2011 ... Jones had a career-best 14-game hit streak
snapped after finishing 0-for-4 ... Nine of Cruz's 14 homers have come on the
road, and he leads the majors with 31 RBI in visiting parks ... The teams
combined to go 15-for-28 with runners in scoring position (Pittsburgh 8-
for-14, Baltimore 7-for-14) ... McCutchen tied Brian Giles' franchise record
with his 51st RBI in interleague play ... The Pirates honored their 1979 world
championship team, which defeated Baltimore in that year's Fall Classic, prior
to the game.