Tony Brings It Home
PITTSBURGH – In a game that took five hours, 55 minutes, pinch-hitter Tony Sanchez singled in the winning run in the bottom of the 16th inning to give the Pirates a 4-3 victory against the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night – the longest game in Pittsburgh history by time.
Sanchez’s hit came off Carlos Villanueva (0-2), ending the game just short of 1 a.m. and six minutes longer the Pirates 8-7, 18-inning victory against Houston on May 27, 2006, that took 5:49.
Villanueva also allowed Neil Walker’s game-ending home run in the Pirates’ 1-0 victory Monday in the season opener.
Both teams scored in the 12th inning as the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo hit a leadoff home run and the Pirates’ Starling Marte had an RBI single with two outs off closer Jose Veras.
The Cubs ended a streak of 16 scoreless innings to start the season by scoring single runs in eighth and ninth inning to force extra innings.
Chicago’s Emilio Bonifacio went 5 for 7 and is hitting .750 (9 for 12). Luis Valbuena added three hits, including a two-out RBI single in the ninth inning off closer Jason Grilli that tied the game at 2-2 and forced extra innings.
Jordy Mercer opened the 16th with a bunt single but was forced out at second on Jose Tabata’s sacrifice attempt. Starling Marte followed with a singled to put runners on corners before Sanchez, the rookie catcher and last position player left on the Pirates’ bench, grounded into left field for the walkoff hit.
Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton pitched six scoreless inning but was denied the win when Grilli blew his first save opportunity of the season after converting 33 of 35 saves last year.
Cubs starter Edwin Jackson allowed two runs, one earned, and two hits in 5 1-3 innings.in his first start since going 8-18 last season and leading the major leagues in losses.
The Cubs’ first run came when an umpire’s call was reversed by video replay.
Nate Schierholtz appeared to ground into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded. However, Cubs manager Rick Renteria asked for the call to be reviewed and it was ruled that shortstop Jordy Mercer came off the second base bag while taking a throw from second baseman Neil Walker, making Rizzo safe at second base.
Walker was charged with an error that enabled Bonifacio to score from third base and left runners on second and third. Reliever Mark Melancon escaped the jam by getting center fielder Ryan Sweeny to ground out.
The Pirates scored a run in the second inning on Mercer’s single and then went ahead 2-0 in the sixth when shortstop Starlin Castro misplayed Russell Martin’s two-out grounder, allowing Marte to score.
NOTES: Both bench were warned by home plate umpire Bob Davidson after Morton hit Rizzo to start the second inning. That came after Marte was hit by Jackson to lead off the bottom of the first. Though Rizzo was hit again in the eighth inning, Melancon was not ejected. . RHP Jason Hammel, signed to a $6 million, one-year contract as a free agent in the offseason is scheduled to make his Cubs’ debut on Thursday afternoon when he faces LHP Wandy Rodriguez in the finale of the three-game series. Rodriguez did not pitch after June 5 last season because of elbow and forearm tightness.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.