Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Cubs 11, Pirates 10 Polanco Slips at Worst Time Misses Fly Ball in 12th That Ends Marathon Thriller

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Cubs 11, Pirates 10 Polanco Slips at Worst Time Misses Fly Ball in 12th That Ends Marathon Thriller

Article excerpt

CHICAGO - Because the game Friday afternoon lasted 5 hours, 1 minute, there was plenty of time for a given situation to repeat itself. The Pirates wriggled free once and were on their way to doing so again until, after all the nonsense that took place at Wrigley Field, Gregory Polanco slipped.

The Pirates lost to the Chicago Cubs, 11-10, in 12 innings when Polanco stumbled running toward a weak pop fly with the bases loaded. The ball dropped, the runner on third scored, and the Pirates lost their third consecutive game while the Cubs won for the fifth time in a row.

"Crazy," Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli said by way of describing the game. "But the good thing is, we never give up. That's how we play baseball. It's tough to beat us."

Sixteen pitchers threw 496 pitches. Two pitchers pinch-hit. Every bench player for both teams but the Cubs' third catcher, David Ross, appeared. Three Pirates relievers - Jared Hughes, Tony Watson and Mark Melancon - pitched two innings and threw 49, 30 and 29 pitches, respectively, which could shorten the bullpen for the remaining two games of the series before an off day Monday.

In the 10th, Melancon allowed a one-out single to Starlin Castro. Miguel Montero's single put Castro on third. Given the choice of facing Jorge Soler or Matt Szczur, manager Clint Hurdle opted for Szczur, trekking to the mound himself to make the call.

After Melancon intentionally walked Soler, Sean Rodriguez, playing left field, ran in to become the fifth infielder.

They were drawn in on the grass to cut off the run at the plate. Szczur flied to shallow right. Polanco caught it, then threw out Castro, who tagged and took off, by 20 feet to end the inning.

"You're going to pick one you want to go at to get out of the inning, it's not Soler for me," Hurdle said. "That's why we did it twice. …

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