1st things 1st: Milestones highlight win
Moroff, Williams, Frazier check off accomplishments in Pirates' walk-off victory
PITTSBURGH -- Max Moroff hit the ball hard to right field -- the first time he'd made contact like that in a while, he thought -- and he looked up to see it bounce off the foul pole. His right foot tapped first base, and that's the last thing he remembers about his first Major League home run.
As Moroff put it later: "I don't remember too much, but it's something I'll always remember."
The rookie's homer was one of several memorable milestones for young Pirates in a 4-3 win over the Cardinals on Sunday afternoon at PNC Park. Moroff's homer was his first in the big leagues. Starter Trevor Williams continued to pitch well and chipped in with his first Major League hit. Finally, Adam Frazier ended the game with his first walk-off hit in the Majors, two days after Josh Bell accomplished the same feat.
"Good game for firsts, I guess," Frazier said. "Glad we could get the win."
Williams' achievement came first. The right-hander was 0-for-22 at the plate when he stepped in to face Cardinals All-Star Carlos Martinez in the third inning. Williams has made clear his desire to get a hit.
"It's gotten silly with Trevor," manager Clint Hurdle said afterward, smiling.
So in the dugout, Hurdle shouted for someone to fetch Williams a jacket -- "After he hits this double," Hurdle added. When Williams fell behind, 1-2, Hurdle canceled the call for baserunning outerwear.
Williams hoped for a fastball, slapped a 97.8-mph heater into right field and hustled to first base, describing his speed as on the "fast side of below average" but wary of getting thrown out. He got there safely, a long-awaited career first in tow, then finished holding the Cards to two runs with five strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings on the mound.
"I had a 'holy-cow' moment: I hit it. Then I had a, 'Holy cow, I'm going to get thrown out at first base if I don't run.' It was good," Williams said. "I got to first base and forgot how to run the bases a little bit, but we survived out there."
Moroff's moment came next. It has been a rough road for the switch-hitting utility infielder, who led the Triple-A International League with 13 homers when he was called up earlier this season. He began the game with four hits and 20 strikeouts in 50 Major League at-bats.
"I was trying to do too much, trying to hit the ball out of the ballpark like I was doing down there," Moroff said. "[I] wasn't trying to do it [Sunday]. It just got out."
Martinez left a 94.7-mph fastball up in the zone, and Moroff hammered it 105 mph off the foul pole. He said he "blacked out" as he rounded the bases, coming to as he entered a raucous home dugout. It was particularly meaningful for Moroff because his mother and brother were in attendance.
"That's the beautiful part about the game," Hurdle said. "It just shows that he's up there and he's going to fight. He put a real good swing on a real good pitcher."
Frazier finished the job in the ninth, climbing out of his recent slump and capping the game-winning rally with a single to center off lefty reliever Brett Cecil.
"Feels pretty good. The best part is you don't have to go to extra innings and you win the game," Frazier said. "To get it done right there is pretty big, pretty exciting."