McCutchen’s homer gives Pirates 4-3 walkoff win over D-backs
PITTSBURGH — Andrew McCutchen has never hit so low in the lineup, and his .215 batting average makes it easy to understand why he’s there.
The face of the Pittsburgh Pirates still has some fireworks in his bat, though.
McCutchen led off the ninth with a home run to right field, lifting the Pirates over the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-3 in a wild ending Monday.
McCutchen sent a 1-1 pitch from Archie Bradley (1-1) over the right field wall to cap a back-and-forth ninth. Arizona’s Chris Iannetta had tied it moments earlier with a two-run homer to left off closer Tony Watson.
“Crazy ballgame,” Pirates skipper Clint Hurdle said. “Absolutely crazy.”
“It’s part of the game that makes it so great,” said Arizona manager Torey Lovullo. “You experience a high, and five minutes later the game’s over and you come crawling back here.”
It was the eighth homer this season for McCutchen, who was recently benched for two games and dropped to sixth in the batting order for the first time in his career. Since getting back in the lineup, McCutchen is 5 for 14 with a pair of home runs.
“Being able to have those couple days did help me,” McCutchen said. “I’m feeling good, feeling better and having more consistent at-bats. “
Watson (4-1) was credited with the win after blowing his third save in 13 opportunities.
It was a costly victory for the Pirates, as starting right fielder Gregory Polanco left the game with a sprained right ankle. X-rays were negative and the Polanco will see a doctor before getting an update Tuesday. He got his ankle caught awkwardly in the railing separating the stands from the playing field while chasing down a foul ball in the sixth inning.
Polanco had just returned from the DL for a strained left hamstring on May 25. He’d been hitting well since his return. He was 1 for 2 on Monday and 6 for 14 since coming back.
Before Iannetta tied it, backup catcher Chris Stewart looked to be the hero for the Pirates. Stewart, an 11-year veteran known mostly for his defensive ability, hadn’t driven in a run all the season when he came to the plate with Jose Osuna and McCutchen on base in a tie game.
Facing reliever J.J. Hoover, Stewart drove a ball into the left-center gap for two runs and ended up with just the second triple of his career. Stewart had to leave the game after his hit with a left leg strain, which he said is hopefully minor.
Osuna replaced Polanco in the field and started the Pirates’ rally in the seventh with a leadoff double.
Arizona starter Randall Delgado struck out a season-high eight over his 5 2/3 innings. Delgado was filling in for the injured Taijuan Walker. He had his longest appearance of the year in terms of innings and pitches thrown (92).
Pirates starter Trevor Williams gave up one run and four hits while striking out three in his six innings.
David Peralta opened the scoring for Arizona in the first. He was hit by a pitch and came home on Yasmany Tomas’ single to left. The Pirates tied it in the fourth when Jordy Mercer tripled and Josh Bell hit a sacrifice fly.
Pirates: RHP Jameson Taillon (testicular cancer) said he felt good after making his first minor league rehab start on Sunday. He’s expected to throw a bullpen session Tuesday before determining where and when his next rehab start will be.
Diamondbacks: Walker will throw in a simulated game Tuesday in Pittsburgh as he attempts to return from a blister on his right index finger.
If all goes well, Walker could be removed from the disabled list and rejoin the rotation afterward, but the Diamondbacks will still need one more spot start before Walker takes his turn.
Pirates RHP Ivan Nova (5-3, 2.83 ERA) will look to win in three straight starts for the first time since 2015 when he was with the New York Yankees. The Diamondbacks will counter with LHP Robbie Ray (4-3, 3.45), who has also won two consecutive starts. Ray has never won three in a row.