Mercer’s double propels Pirates
Jordy Mercer doubled home Neil Walker with one out in the bottom of the 11th inning to lift the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night.
Walker led off the inning with a single against Colorado’s Chad Bettis (0-2), moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, and scored one batter later when Mercer hit a drive deep into the gap in left-center.
Jared Hughes (5-2) earned the win after escaping a two-on, one-out jam in the 11th by snagging a line drive from Charlie Blackmon and turning it into a double play.
Walker went 3 for 5 with two runs scored for the Pirates.
Carlos Gonzalez hit a two-run homer for the Rockies, who lost All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki in the fourth inning to a left thigh cramp.
Tulowitzki, who leads the majors in batting average (.340) and runs (71), hit a slow roller to shortstop in the fourth against Morton and grabbed his leg while nearing first base. He walked gingerly to the dugout before being replaced by Josh Rutledge.
Colorado starter Brett Anderson, acquired in a trade from Oakland last December following a humbling season in which he went from Opening Day starter to the bullpen, spent seven innings keeping the Pirates off balance with a dizzying array of breaking balls.
The left-hander allowed one run and struck out eight with just one walk, his only flub consecutive doubles by Walker and Gaby Sanchez in the fourth that put Pittsburgh in front.
He retired the last 12 batters he faced and was in position to earn his first win since April 7, 2013, when Gonzalez took a curveball from Morton in the seventh and sent it streaking into the seats above the Roberto Clemente Wall in right field.
For the second straight night, however, Colorado’s bullpen faltered.
Pittsburgh scored three times on Friday after Rockies’ starter Jorge De La Rosa exited to pull out a 4-2 win. The Pirates put a similar rally together 24 hours later when Anderson left after 110 pitches.
Two walks and a single off Adam Ottavino with one out in the eighth loaded the bases, and Walker laced a single to right against Tommy Kahnle to score Josh Harrison and tie the game. A perfect throw from Gonzalez in right nailed Andrew McCutchen at the plate and kept it even.
The wayward curveball Morton surrendered to Gonzalez in the seventh marred an otherwise steady outing for the resurgent right-hander.