Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Sacrifice Fly Caps Comeback Victory Early 4-0 Deficit Erased after Hr by Mckenry in 7th Sets Up Finish Pirates 5, Mets 4

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Sacrifice Fly Caps Comeback Victory Early 4-0 Deficit Erased after Hr by Mckenry in 7th Sets Up Finish Pirates 5, Mets 4

Article excerpt

The Pirates offense has not done it often this season, but it provided a late-inning comeback Monday night at PNC Park.

Clint Barmes' sacrifice fly scored Neil Walker in the eighth and gave the Pirates a 5-4 win against the New York Mets.

Walker hit a ball into the left-center field gap off Mets reliever Jon Rauch. Center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis and left fielder Mike Baxter, who pinch-hit in the top of the inning and had just entered the game on defense, crossed wires and almost ran into each other. The ball glanced off Nieuwenhuis' glove and Walker ended up on third on the three-base error.

"You definitely thought it's an out off the bat," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.

Barmes hit a shallow fly to right field. Walker tagged and barely beat Lucas Duda's throw to the plate to break a 4-4 tie. Barmes said he was looking to stay back on an off-speed pitch, and he wasn't sure at first if he got the ball deep enough for Walker to score.

"I was glad that he took a chance on it," Barmes said.

Third-base coach Nick Leyva was signaling for Walker to tag before Duda had caught the ball.

"We had to send him," Hurdle said. "There was no not sending him.

"That's an exciting baseball play."

The Mets had a chance to break the tie in the eighth, when Nieuwenhuis led off with a single off Jared Hughes. He went to second on Ronny Cedeno's ground ball and third on a wild pitch from Hughes.

Hughes intentionally walked Baxter to reach switch-hitting Andres Torres, who entered the game hitting .167 against right-handed pitchers, and got Torres to ground out to end the inning.

Hughes earned his first win of the season. Rauch (3-3) was the loser and Joel Hanrahan saved his 10th game with a perfect ninth.

"I think things are falling into place better for Joel," Hurdle said.

Michael McKenry tied the score at 4-4 in the seventh with his third home run of the season off Mets starter Johan Santana.

"We hear it all the time that our pitching staff has been keeping us afloat," McKenry said. "We're going to scratch and claw and do whatever we can to put an extra run on the board."

Erik Bedard allowed four runs on six hits and needed 97 pitches to make it through five innings. …

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