Florimon plays hero as Bucs walk off in 15th
PITTSBURGH -- Pedro Florimon didn't make the Pirates' roster out of Spring Training. He's mostly been used as a late-inning defensive replacement since joining the team in late July. But Florimon delivered in a big spot in the 15th inning of the Pirates' 9-8 win over the D-backs on Tuesday night at PNC Park, knocking a two-out walk-off triple off the Clemente Wall in right field.
The D-backs rallied for five late runs against the Pirates' typically shutdown bullpen to tie the game in the ninth, but Pittsburgh relievers Arquimedes Caminero and Joe Blanton kept Arizona in check long enough for Florimon to deliver the first walk-off hit of his career.
"I was excited for that. To see everybody jumping up on me, I was jumping, too," Florimon said. "It was my first, so I had to be happy for that."
Buoyed by three early runs, a pair of home runs and a three-run fifth inning, the Pirates led, 8-3, heading into the eighth. But Arizona began to chip away, with Paul Goldschmidt walking in a run before Welington Castillo hit a sacrifice fly and Yasmany Tomas produced an RBI single to make it an 8-6 game.
In came Pirates closer Mark Melancon to pitch the ninth, riding a streak of 35 straight successful save opportunities. Ender Inciarte's ground ball slipped by third baseman Jung Ho Kang and into left field to lead off the inning, Aaron Hill singled and Goldschmidt's hard grounder bounced off first baseman Sean Rodriguez for an error and into the right-field corner as the tying runs crossed the plate.
"The guys battled," D-backs manager Chip Hale said of his team. "Did a heck of a job against their closer, one of the best in the game right now and scored some runs late. It got in the extra innings and nothing really materialized for us."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Bookend bursts force extras: After three early runs off Bucs starter Francisco Liriano, the D-backs' offense went quiet for five innings before making things interesting in the eighth. Arizona managed three runs in the frame and had runners on first and third before Chris Owings struck out to end the threat. Then in the ninth, the D-backs capitalized on a pair of errors to score two runs and tie the game.
"Liriano is good," Goldschmidt said. "We were able to score those runs early and he did a good job shutting it down. Just a great job coming back. They made a couple of errors, but we were able to score those runs and started to get some hits and get some guys on."
Gold standard at first: Goldschmidt showed why he is one of the top defenders at his position in baseball when he saved the game in the ninth. With one out and Andrew McCutchen at second, Kang hit a scorching line drive to Goldschmidt's left that he snared. Goldschmidt then threw to second, where shortstop Chris Owings tagged out McCutchen, who was attempting to get back to second. McCutchen was initially ruled safe before a D-backs challenge resulted in the call being overturned.
"I had a feeling that the baserunner was going to react and start going so I just turned and threw it," Goldschmidt said. More >
Marte swings away: Starling Marte snapped a lengthy home run streak in the third inning, giving the Pirates a 4-3 lead on a solo shot into the D-backs' bullpen. It was Marte's first homer since July 1 and just his second since June 9. More >
Frankie at the bat: Liriano didn't have his best stuff on the mound, allowing five runs in seven innings, but he kept the Pirates close at the plate. With a man on first and one out in the second inning, Liriano ripped a game-tying double to center field. The lefty has now recorded a hit and driven in at least one run in three straight starts.
"Just trying to get some good at-bats and trying to put the ball in play. I don't know," Liriano said. "Just getting some good pitches to hit and trying to put the ball in play."
"That's the beauty of what we do. The game's designed to break your heart, stretch your heart, pull on your heart, tug on your heart. It's fun to watch our men go out and continue to compete."
-- Hurdle, on the walk-off finish
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Pirates have hit at least one home run in 12 straight games. During their streak, the Bucs have gone deep 18 times -- with Kang's seventh-inning solo shot the most recent addition to the list. The last time Pittsburgh homered in more than 12 consecutive games was June 19-July 3, 1994, when it went deep in 13 straight games.
The Pirates improved to 26-15 in one-run games this season, the best record in the Majors.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The D-backs were able to get out of the jam in the ninth thanks to the key challenge. It was initially ruled that McCutchen was not doubled up at second on Goldschmidt's throw after his snare of Kang's liner. However, the call was overturned and the D-backs wound up with an inning-ending double play.
D-backs: Lefty Robbie Ray will get the starting nod for the D-backs on Wednesday in the finale of the three-game series with the Pirates, which begins at 4:05 p.m. MST. Ray is looking for his first win since July 7.
Pirates: Left-hander J.A. Happ will make his third start for the Pirates as they wrap up a three-game series against the D-backs at 7:05 ET on Wednesday at PNC Park. Happ bounced back from a rough Pirates debut his last time out, holding the Mets to one run in 5 1/3 innings on Friday at Citi Field.
Watch every out-of-market regular season game live on MLB.TV.