We have seen this game before. For the third time in less than a year, the Pirates and Astros played a marathon game at PNC Park. Last season the Bucs won 8-7 in 18 innings and lost 7-6 in 15. Add the 16-inning game tonight, and you have the three longest games in PNC Park history.
Adam LaRoche singled home Jack Wilson in the bottom of the 16th inning, giving the Pirates a 4-3 victory. There were many Pirate stars in this game, such as the following:
- Adam LaRoche - LaRoche did little before his RBI single in the 16th, and even that hit was just a slow groundball. But he is struggling so badly right now that this big hit might be what gets him rolling. He is extremely tense at the plate, and the exhilaration of this win might just loosen him up a bit.
- Zach Duke - Duke rebounded well from a couple of horrid starts, posting a line of 7 IP, 1 R, 6 H, 1 BB, 1 K. He was hit fairly hard early on and his strikeout rate is still completely absent, but he got in a bit of a groove after a few innings and deserved a victory tonight.
- Pirate bullpen - Salomon Torres blew the save when he allowed two runs in the 9th, but all but one of his hits allowed was a groundball with eyes. Other than that, the Astros were kept off the board by some unlikely heroes after Sully left the mound. Grabow was thrown in the fire for his first appearance of the season, but looked sharp as he shut down the 9th inning. Marte got a clutch strikeout to end the 10th, even as I moaned about how "unclutch" he is (No, we're not getting into that argument right now). Shawn Chacon walked three and had to work out of a few jams, but we desperately needed his four scoreless innings. Even the much-maligned John Wasdin got into the act, with two more scoreless innings. The Astros left 18 men on base in this game, and many of those runners reached base in extra innings. The bullpen deserves a pat on the back for battling and keeping this game tied for so long.
I believe there were about 17 people left in the stands at the conclusion of this game. If you were one of them, good for you. Who leaves an extra-inning game early, for crying out loud??The Pirates and Astros will return to PNC Park in about 12 hours to finish up this series. Come on down to the ballpark for a relaxing game of baseball.