PITTSBURGH -- Starling Marte was the hero of the Pirates' 6-5, 10-inning win over the Braves on Sunday at PNC Park, the walk-off winner after crushing his first home run of the season into Atlanta's bullpen. But the Bucs' comeback was a team effort."It helps different guys, having a part
PITTSBURGH -- Starling Marte was the hero of the Pirates' 6-5, 10-inning win over the Braves on Sunday at PNC Park, the walk-off winner after crushing his first home run of the season into Atlanta's bullpen. But the Bucs' comeback was a team effort.
"It helps different guys, having a part in it. Coming in, you know if you want to be an elite team, you've got to come back and win games," manager Clint Hurdle said. "You've got to win games late. You've got to come from behind and tie things up. It looked hard for a while."
It looked hard as long as Julio Teheran was pitching for the Braves. But he exited after seven innings with a 4-2 lead, and the Pirates began their comeback. Josh Harrison was hit in the lower right leg by a 98.7-mph fastball from Arodys Vizcaino but stayed in the game. He limped to second base on Adam Frazier's single, took third on a base hit by Marte and scored when Jace Peterson booted the ball in left field.
Harrison's trip around the bases was fueled by adrenaline, but it ran out eventually. He was removed from the lineup before the 10th inning, ensuring the Pirates would use every last man on their bench. They also called upon the last unused man in their bullpen.
Right-hander Trevor Williams, the only reliever yet to pitch this season, tossed a scoreless eighth and ninth. That kept the door open for the Pirates' game-tying rally, which was not quite as flashy as Marte's finishing touch.
Gregory Polanco singled, and Josh Bell and David Freese walked in the ninth. Francisco Cervelli, the second pinch-hitter of the inning, bounced a ground ball to third base. Freese slid hard into second, breaking up Brandon Phillips' attempt to turn the game-ending double play.
Freese had talked with first-base coach Kimera Bartee before Cervelli's at-bat about how to break up a potential double play. He couldn't worry about the slide rule, implemented after the 2015 season, although the Braves did challenge to see if Freese had violated it. A review determined that Freese's slide was legal, and it allowed Polanco to safely cross the plate.
"That's Dave. Hard-nosed," Frazier said. "That's what the game called for right there."
The Braves quickly regained the lead in the 10th, as Nick Markakis and Phillips singled and Markakis came home on Tyler Flowers' groundout. Frazier, back at third base after moving to second for two innings, peeked at the runner while trying to field the ball, and his resulting bobble gave Markakis time to score.
"If I catch that cleanly, I think we've got him," Frazier said. "I just wanted to make up for it and get on base and hopefully score myself."
Sure enough, Frazier led off the 10th with a double to center field.
"He's a very tough player. He's a very tough-minded kid," Hurdle said. "You talk about separation of glove and bat, he's always done that since he's been in the organization."
That set up Marte's homer, the final act of a team-wide comeback and a three-game series sweep.
"It's awesome. It shows we're not quitting," Freese said. "Getting W's in the big leagues, they just don't hand them to you. It's nice to get it done this series."
Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.