PITTSBURGH – In the Breitbart Sports photo above, Gonzalez Germen delivers the pitch Friday that was grounded up the middle for a game-winning single in the 11th inning to give the Pirates a 3-2 win over the Mets. Andrew McCutchen raced home from second base to give the Pirates a 9-game playoff cushion at 55-36, which means they need to win just 26 of their final 71 games to end their record streak of 20 consecutive losing seasons.
The Pirates continue to win despite being ranked 20th or worse in batting average, slugging average, on-base percentage and runs scored. Friday they started with a two-run homer from Pedro Alvarez in the first inning but then only one of the next 23 Pirates reached base.
Luckily once again the Pirates pitching was as good as their batting was bad, as starting pitcher Charlie Morton held the Mets to two runs in seven innings, almost getting the win until Kirk Nieuwenhuis golfed a pitch out of right center to tie the game 2-2 in the seventh inning.
After the low-scoring first eight innings took less than two hours to complete, the ninth and 10th inning took more than an hour as the Pirates did show how Starling Marte and McCutchen may be able to string together enough hits and base running to get just enough runs across to win.
Marte led off the ninth inning by breaking up the team’s one of 23 streak with what appeared to be a routine single to left. As the ball fell, many gasps were heard from Pirates fans when they realized Marte had rounded first at full speed. He went into second base with a head first slide to turn the hit into a leadoff double.
Jose Tabata then laid down a perfect bunt to get him to third, and McCutchen and Russell Wilson walked before the Pirates left the bases loaded to force extra innings. The Pirates had a many baserunners in the ninth inning (3) as they did in the first eight innings combined.
The Mets walked Marte in the 10th inning, and then walked McCutchen to start the 11th inning. McCutchen then stole second base, and raced home for the game-winner when Mercer hit a ground ball between him and the pitcher’s mound to give the Pirates the win.