Cutch sparks Pirates' game-winning rally
PITTSBURGH -- Jordy Mercer ended the Pirates' 10th-inning walk-off rally in their 3-2 win over the Braves on Friday night at PNC Park. But it was Andrew McCutchen who got it started.
With the game tied at 2, McCutchen led off the 10th by swinging at the first pitch he saw from Braves closer Jason Grilli, a former Pirate. McCutchen ripped the ball to deep left field, bouncing it over the fence for his 20th double.
Grilli then intentionally walked Starling Marte, struck out Pedro Alvarez and gave up the game-winning double to Mercer, whose blast to the right-field wall scored McCutchen and set off the Pirates' celebration.
"I'm trying to win a ballgame. McCutchen knows my style," Grilli said. "I'm trying to get ahead. He was aggressive. ...I didn't want to walk a guy. He earned it."
McCutchen was able to do plenty of other good things on Friday night. The center fielder finished 2-for-4 with two runs and a stolen base, his fourth of the season and his first in almost exactly a month.
That performance brought McCutchen's triple-slash line for the season up to .295/.382/.490. He's hit nine homers and has 44 RBIs.
It's been a dramatic, but expected, turnaround for McCutchen. The four-time All-Star began the year in a miserable slump, carrying a .188/.279/.292 batting line into play on May 7.
Since then, McCutchen has hit .358 with 26 extra-base hits, rounding back into his usual dominant form -- as he showed again during Friday night's winning rally.
"Cutch was able to touch him up first pitch, and Jordy was able to stay in the at-bat and get that ball up out over the plate and drive it," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Players go out and play, and they hit. We were able to do some good things in that inning."