April 7, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA: Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Jeff Karstens (27) delivers a pitch to during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at PNC Park. Mandatory credit: Vincent Pugliese- US PRESSWIRE
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The Pirates won their first game of the season Saturday night as Rod Barajas’ 10th-inning double led to a hard-won 2-1 victory.
The game began as a pitching duel between Cliff Lee and Jeff Karstens. Karstens allowed a run on three singles in the first, but shut the Phillies down after that. For a while, though, it looked as if Philadelphia’s meager one-run lead might be too much to overcome, as Lee shut down the Pirates, who, 14 innings into the 2012 season, were still looking for their first run.
They managed to tie the game in the sixth, however, as Lee allowed a walk to new Bucs bench infielder Yamaico Navarro, who later came home on a wild pitch.
The two teams traded zeroes after that. Andrew McCutchen singled and stole second in the bottom of the ninth, but was stranded when Neil Walker popped up.
In the 10th, though, Barajas led off and just missed a homer, as his towering shot bounced off the PNC Park wall about four inches from the top. The Pirates pinch-ran for the ultra-slow Barajas with fellow catcher Michael McKenry. Clint Barmes moved McKenry to third with a sacrifice. Jose Tabata then popped up on a first-pitch curveball, and it looked like the game would be headed to the 11th, but Alex Presley beat out the throw on a grounder to third, and McKenry scampered home for the win.
The Pirates are now 1-1 on the season. They’ve scored just two runs in 19 innings, but they’ve also allowed only two. They’ll finish their series against the Phillies on Sunday at 1:35 p.m.