The hero for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Tony Sanchez, has been involved in some long games before, but he was mostly happy to walk off the field with a 2-0 win over the Chicago Cubs because he was starving as a 16 inning game ended with a walk-off single to end it.
The Pirates move up to 2-0 this season with another one-run win over the Cubs, hoping to sweep the series with the third game. The Cubs were extremely wasteful for a second consecutive game. They got 15 hits on their 62 at-bats, but finished with 19 players left on base and went an awful 1-of-16 with runners in scoring positions. Most of the hits came from the early-season batting machine of Emilio Bonifacio with 5-of-7 and a walk, but after him players kept messing up.
Bonifacio is the first player to start a season with a pair of 4-hit games since Dante Bichette of the 1998 Rockies. He joins Bichette, Wade Boggs and Showboat Fisher as the only players to accomplish the feat in the last 85 seasons. But milestones aside, the Cubs simply messed up against a Pirates team that struggled generating any kind of offense, finishing with 8-of-52 on their at bats.
The Pirates had a 2-0 lead by the sixth inning: Jordy Mercer helped Neil Walker score in the second with one of his two hits in the game, and four innings later it was an error by Starlin Castro (0-for-6) that helped the Pirates get their second run on board. The Cubs came back, scoring in the 8th as Bonifacio made the most of Nate Schierholtz grounding out followed by Luis Valbuena, who went on base five times during the game, hit a single that allowed Junior Lake in a very good pinch hitting performance score. When Anthony Rizzo hit a home run in the 12th, the game seemed like it was over.
But the Pirates had a bit more up their sleeve, beginning with extending the game through Starling Marte single, and then came Tony Sanchez in the 16th inning to win the game with Jose Tabata scoring.
It was a good start for Charlie Morton of the Pirates, allowing four hits in six innings. Edwin Jackson did OK on the other end but he did allow two runs and struggled with his control, allowing five walks in 5.1 innings. Stolmy Pimentel with strong four innings to close the game got the win for the Pirates, while Carlos Villanueva picked up his second loss of the season by allowing Sanchez that winning hit. Earlier it was Jose Veras with a blown save that ruined it for the Cubs, although nothing was worse than their awful record with runners in scoring position.
It was a great to be in a situation where I had the chance to win a game for the first time in my career. I was getting a little nervous when I stepped up to the plate, then I realized all I had to do was put the ball in play and find a hole.. I’m glad it was over because I was getting hungry.