Starling Marte swung so miserably at the first two sliders he saw from Arizona Diamondbacks closer Addison Reed in the ninth inning that the Pittsburgh left fielder knew more were on the way.
So he stepped out of the batter’s box, took a deep breath and waited.
“I was struggling the first two pitches but I was thinking about the pitch I want,” Marte said. “He threw me a slider and it was a good chance to hit the ball.”
Was it ever.
Marte turned an 81 mph slider over the middle of the plate into a game-tying, two-run double and then scored on pinch-hitter Ike Davis’ single two batters later as the Pirates rallied for a 3-2 win Tuesday night.
“Every time we’re up to bat there’s a chance we do something,” Davis said. “It’s hard to shut us down for nine. We’ve done it a lot this year ... anything is possible with us.”
The Pirates were shut down for eight innings by Arizona starter Wade Miley before rallying in the ninth.
Neil Walker and pinch-hitter Gregory Polanco started the inning with singles against Miley. One batter later, Marte turned an 0-2 count into a tie game.
“He got a ball that he could get a barrel on,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “He slowed it down and put a good swing on it and hit it to the big part of the ballpark.”
Andrew McCutchen was intentionally walked and Davis hit a broken-bat single to right, scoring Marte easily as the Pirates won for the fourth time in five games.
Ernesto Frieri (1-3) earned his first win with the Pirates after working a scoreless ninth.