Pittsburgh closer Jason Grilli and Los Angeles Angels counterpart Ernesto Frieri each gave up three runs Sunday. The final outcome came down to one pitch that Mike Trout missed.
Pedro Alvarez homered for the fourth straight game, Starling Marte capped a three-run ninth inning with a tying single, and the Pirates added four more in the 10th to beat the Angels 10-9 and complete their first interleague sweep on the road.
Trailing 6-3 entering the ninth, the Pirates pulled even against Frieri — his second blown save in 19 attempts. The right-hander issued a leadoff walk to Neil Walker, ending his string of 22 consecutive batters retired, then gave up a single to Gaby Sanchez and a one-out grounder by pinch-hitter Andrew McCutchen that scored Walker.
Next came a pinch-hit RBI double by Russell Martin over the head of rookie left fielder J.B. Shuck, followed by Marte’s clutch hit.
“I got to hang out in the air conditioning in here for about six innings, so I felt fresh when I got out there,” Martin said with a grin. “But our guys battled back and had great ABs collectively, top to bottom, and it was fun to be a part of. We have no quit, that’s for sure.”
Martin drove in the final run — and ultimately the decisive one — with an RBI single in the 10th.
“Ernie’s been throwing the ball as well as anybody in the league,” losing pitcher Kevin Jepsen said. “Anybody can have a rough game. When you’re pitching in the back of the ‘pen when the game is on the line, it’s just more magnified. He was one strike away a couple of times, so it wasn’t like he had no shot. Sometimes that’s how close you come. But Ernie is very resilient, and he’ll be fine.”
Grilli closed it out despite giving up five hits, including RBI singles by Alberto Callaspo, Shuck and Brendan Harris. The right-hander finally ended it by striking out Trout with the potential tying and winning runs at third and second.