The Pirates have been scuffling the last couple of weeks, but Tuesday night, they proved they might still have a little magic left in what has been a resurgent season for the club when Garrett Jones hit a walk off home run in the bottom of the 11th inning to give the Pirates a 5-4 win against the Cardinals at PNC Park.
The effort included a so-so outing from Jeff Karstens, who went 5.1 innings giving up three earned runs with five strikeouts and two walks. He left with the game tied 3-3 in the sixth. From there, the bullpen group of Jason Grilli, Jose Veras, Joel Hanrahan and Chris Resop combined to pitch 6.1 innings giving up just one run, charged to Hanrahan.
The Pirates took an early 3-1 lead when Andrew McCutchen hit a 3-run home run over the left field wall, and held it until the sixth when the Cardinals got to Karstens for a couple of runs. Hanrahan gave up a run in the ninth to allow St. Louis to take the lead, but Neil Walker answered in the bottom half with a home run to tie the score a four runs apiece, which set up Jones' game-winning blast of the Cardinals' Arthur Rhodes.
"He just threw me a slider that was hung over the plate," Jones told ROOT Sports' Dan Potash after the game. "I just saw it and reacted and got a good part of the bat on it."
Jones finished 2-5, and McCutchen reached base four times including his big homer. Walker had three hits to raise his average to .273.
The Pirates will look for a series sweep of the Cardinals tomorrow in a 7:05 p.m. tilt. For now, though, they'll bask in the glow of what was a nice relief from the struggles of the last couple of weeks.
"It was a big win," Hurdle said. "You're playing a good ball club...it's exciting."