PITTSBURGH — Lou Piniella insists the Pittsburgh Pirates are "a nice ballclub," and they actually played like one on Saturday night.
Pittsburgh got a good effort from its starting pitcher, Phil Dumatrait, a two-run homer from Jason Bay and a rally off Kerry Wood to tie the game in the ninth. The Pirates picked off Alfonso Soriano at second base and cut down Ryan Theriot trying to steal second. Closer Matt Capps turned in three scoreless innings in his longest career outing.
Piniella, meanwhile, ran through almost every trick in his bag, depleting his bullpen and even pulling Derrek Lee in a double switch that left Henry Blanco playing first base. He used three second basemen and pinch hit a youngster playing his fifth game (Micah Hoffpauir) and a graybeard playing his 1,845th game (Jim Edmonds).
In the end, the Lee-Blanco move proved to be one too many. Pittsburgh won 5-4 in the 14th on a long single by Bay, evening the series 1-1 and dropping the Cubs' edge in the season head-to-head to 9-2.
Freddy Sanchez, who scored the winning run, had reached on Theriot's throwing error to start the 14th. The one-hop toss was the kind routinely handled by Lee but instead clanked off Blanco's seldom-used first baseman's mitt.
Sanchez moved to second on Michael Wuertz's wild pitch and to third on a Luis Rivas groundout to Theriot. After an intentional walk of Nate McLouth, Bay lined a pitch to left center. The ball flew past Soriano and Reed Johnson, who were playing shallow.
"We did a good job of battling back after I put us with a little deficit," said starting pitcher Jason Marquis, who gave up three runs in 51/3 innings. "The breaks didn't go our way tonight."
Wood entered with a one-run lead in the ninth but put the tying runner on by hitting Doug Mientkiewicz with his third pitch. He gave up a single to Xavier Nady and, after manager John Russell had Sanchez bunt, saw the lead disappear when Rivas drove a sacrifice fly to right fielder Kosuke Fukudome.
The Pirates had tied the game 4-4 and the score would stay that way until the 14th. The Cubs missed their best chance to score when Blanco failed to get the go-ahead run to third on a bunt with two on and no outs in the 13th.
Wood dropped to 10-for-14 in save situations.
"We have to win that ballgame," Wood said. "The bottom line is you have to get the job done, learning curve or not. Our offense came back against them. The guys who pitched before and after me all did good jobs."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun