“No, never like that,” said Matt Hague when asked if that’s how he envisioned his first major league walk-off at bat.
Hague was hit by a pitch thrown by Rafael Dolis in the bottom of the ninth inning to secure a 3-2 victory for the Pirates against the Chicago Cubs on Saturday night. The win handed the Cubs their 11th straight loss and was the second win in a row for the Buccos.
“We’ll take wins whenever we can get them,” said manager Clint Hurdle of the victory. “Lots of opportunity for both teams out there.”
But it was the Pirates that managed to come away victorious in yet another one run ballgame.
Pedro Alvarez made his second multiple-run scoring, defensive stop in as many nights during the top of the third inning to keep the Cubs scoreless. With Paul Maholm on third and David DeJesus on second, Starlin Castro hit a weak ground ball to Alvarez at third and instead of going to first with it, Alvarez threw the ball home and Rod Barajas tagged out Maholm at the plate to end the inning.
“It was a big league play,” said Hurdle of Alvarez’s heroics.
Alvarez followed up his defensive play with beginning an offensive surge in the bottom half of the third for the Pirates. With Jose Tabata being hit by a pitch and Andrew McCutchen intentionally walked, Alvarez stepped up and ripped a single into center field to bring home Tabata and put the Pirates up 1-0.
In the next at bat, Neil Walker hit a deep sacrifice fly into right field for his 15th RBI on the year and brought home McCutchen, putting the Pirates up 2-0.
The Cubs got on the board in the top of the fourth inning courtesy of Alfonso Soriano. Soriano launched a 1-0 pitch by Kevin Correia over the center field fence for his fifth home run on the year, cutting the Pirates lead to 2-1.
The Cubs tied the game up in the next inning stringing together a few two out hits. David DeJesus doubled to left field and was hit in by Starlin Castro, who blasted a triple deep into the right field corner, tying the score at 2-2.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Pirates got two runners on with no outs when Jose Tabata hit a single to center field and Josh Harrison was walked on five pitches. Following a strikeout by Andrew McCutchen and a deep flyout to center by Alvarez, Neil Walker loaded the bases with a two-out walk. And then it was Matt Hague’s chance.
On a two-two count, Hague was drilled in the left side with a fastball by Dolis and Tabata crossed the plate, securing a 3-2 victory.
The defense behind starter Kevin Correia and the rest of the bullpen who entered the game was the key to the Pirates victory. “They made some real good plays,” said Correia. With good defensive play behind a league-leading bullpen, the Pirates look promising to get over the .500 mark on the season.
The Pirates close out the three game series against the Cubs Sunday afternoon at PNC Park. Erik Bedard (2-5, 3.52 ERA) gets the starting nod against the Cubs’ Matt Garza (2-2, 3.72 ERA) with the first pitch scheduled for 1:35 p.m.