A run in the bottom of the thirteenth inning, the Pirates center fielder led the first pitch he saw of Fernando Rodney, a fast ball from center to center, into the bullpen beyond the center field fence when the Pirates managed an unlikely comeback, giving them two victories in three games against the Oakland visitor.
After two consecutive unstable starts, the Pirates' starting pitcher, Jordan Lyles, delivered another gem, much like when he allowed a total of one run in his first three starts of the season.
The Pirates were the first to jump on the scoreboard when, in the bottom of the second inning, Josh Bell started with a double nearly 400 feet on the Northside Notch in left center field, and after a Melky Cabrera pitch. In third place, Bell scored easily with a sacrifice fly from Colin Moran to the right.
Both pitchers were in a groove, otherwise throwing zeros through six innings. Oakland starter Frankie Montas allowed only five hits in six innings, with no walks and five strikeouts.
Lyles took a slim 1-0 lead in the top of the seventh, but had trouble with two outs when Nick Hundley placed a double in the left-field corner and joined to tie the game with a single left of Robbie Grossman, once. a pirate prospect that was exchanged many years ago.
With the score tied, the teams exchanged zeros for another five innings. Kyle Crick, Felipe Vázquez and Francisco Liriano allowed a single hit in four innings for the job, but the Pirates bats could not do any better against the Oakland bullpen, as four relievers put together a six-inning stretch with no hits.
Cardinal Tyler Lyons' former left-handed reliever, who just called to replace the injured Jameson Taillon, made his Pirate debut with a twelfth, but the attack area eluded him when he returned for the thirteenth. Eight straight balls put the first two runners in the base. Chad Pinder then hit a wheel to second. Shortener Cole Tucker threw the shot for a force in second place on the first out, but his slow relief allowed Pinder to avoid doubled at first base, and put the main race in third with just one out. Because the injuries and the workload were exhausted by the Pirates' relief staff, it was Lyon's responsibility to solve the problem, but Kendry Morales hit a single to the center to give Oakland a 2-1 lead. Stephen Piscotty then lined up a double to the right, scoring Pinder with the third run, but Morales, standing slowly, could only reach the third. With Oakland having used all his banking players, Jurickson Profar received an intentional walk to load the bases of pitcher Yusmeiro Petit, who owns a .51 career batting average. Petit worked on the 2-1 count, then lined up a ball in the middle, but hit the pitcher's leg and directly attacked Jung-ho Kang in third, who stepped on that base and threw himself to first for a chance that ended in double game.
But still, it seemed that the horse was well out of the barn. Veteran Fernando Rodney, the oldest player in baseball at the age of 42, came to his conclusion. By pumping the fastballs of the 90s, he got Elias Diaz to go down to earth, but then Cole Tucker lined up with the first pitch he saw beyond the shortstop and entered left field for just one. Kang, who despite his struggles ranked second in the Pirates in home runs, represented the tie race. After failing a couple of fast balls, he made enough throws to get the four ball. With runners in first and second, Adam Frazier immediately lined up a single to center, scoring Cole to lead the Pirates to 3-2. while the potential play runner Kang ran to third. Oakland asked for time to have a conference with pitcher Rodney, and when the game resumed, Mars threw the next pitch at 390 feet in the bullpen in center field for the game's homerun, the Pirates prevailed with a final score of 5- 3.
Having won four of their last five games, the Pirates' record is back above .500 in 16-15, in fourth place, 3.0 games behind the leading division of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Have a day off on Monday, then resume your home schedule at 7:05 p.m. This Tuesday night as right-hander Adrian Sampson (0-1, 3.58) of the Texas Rangers is scheduled to face Steven Brault of the Pirates (0-1, 8.31)