Jordy Mercer’s HR can’t save Pirates vs. Diamondbacks


Updated 7 minutes ago

Jordy Mercer jokingly said he apologized to his teammates for hitting a home run in the 11th inning that extended Wednesday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

“I don’t think anybody really minded,” Mercer said with a laugh.

Mercer’s two-out solo shot tied the game at 5 and set up a 93-minute rain delay. The Diamondbacks eventually came up with a run in the 14th inning to snatch a 6-5 victory from the Pirates.

“We’re dog tired,” Mercer said. “We’ve been on a brutal stretch lately. We’re excited for the off day (on Thursday). I can tell you that.”

When rain halted play before the top of the 12th, the Pirates were weary, soaked and short-handed.

Before the pause, reliever Jhan Marinez was announced as entering the game, which left the Pirates with only Trevor Williams and Ivan Nova (who pitched seven innings Tuesday) as their bench/bullpen players. Gerrit Cole was used as a pinch-hitter in the 10th, and Tyler Glasnow pinch-ran in the fifth.

Marinez (0-3) stayed loose during the rain delay, so manager Clint Hurdle figured the right-hander would be OK to pitch.

“We were limited with our options today,” Hurdle said. “It was something (Marinez) said he had done before, so we were comfortable with him going out there. It’s not like he wasn’t ready to pitch or incapable of pitching.”

Marinez retired the first six batters he faced, but quickly got into trouble in the 14th inning.

David Peralta led off with a single to right, then moved to second base on Paul Goldschmidt’s groundout. Jake Lamb was intentionally walked. Chris Owings lined a game-winning single to right.

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If the Diamondbacks had not scored, the Pirates would have been in a pickle. Marinez could have pitched “maybe another inning,” Hurdle said, which meant Williams would have been pressed into action.

Wednesday should have been Williams’ normal day to throw a pregame bullpen session, but it was pushed back to Thursday.

“Instead, I went at it hard in the weight room,” Williams said. “I could have pitched, but my arms would’ve been really sore.”

Right-hander Chad Kuhl is winless in 10 starts since he beat the Atlanta Braves on April 8. He held the Diamondbacks to two runs over five innings and finished with a no-decision.

Kuhl gave up three hits, walked three and struck out four. He also dusted off his curveball, a pitch he threw earlier in his career that he’s been fine-tuning on the side the past few weeks.

“It’s something we’ve been working on,” Kuhl said. “I threw probably 10 to 15 today, most for strikes. I got a couple of groundouts with it.”

Kuhl throws his hook in the low- to mid-80s mph. It’s a way for him to create some change in velocity to keep batters off his hard stuff.

“I really don’t want to mess with my slider (because) I think it’s in a good spot,” Kuhl said. “This is a way to add something else that isn’t 88-95 mph so they can get off that a little bit.”

Trailing 4-3 in the ninth, the Pirates tied the game without getting a hit.

Closer Fernando Rodney walked Francisco Cervelli, who gave way to pinch-runner Alen Hanson, and Andrew McCutchen.

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Gift Ngoepe’s sacrifice bunt was booted by Goldschmidt. With the bases loaded, Mercer grounded into a double play, which was enough to score Hanson.

The teams traded solo home runs in the 11th. Nick Ahmed hit a 426-foot shot off Johnny Barbato.

Amid a steady downpour in the bottom of the inning, Mercer cranked his two-out homer to left field.

“(The conditions) were pretty brutal,” Mercer said. “I’ve got raindrops dripping down from my helmet. Then, all of the sudden, it’s over the wall, and you’re running around the bases in mud, and (third base coach) Joey (Cora) is laughing and it’s a mess. It was cool to tie it up, though.”

Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review

Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen can’t catch a two-run triple by the Diamondbacks’ Jake Lamb during the third inning Wednesday, May 31, 2017, at PNC Park.

Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review

Pirates pitcher Chad Kuhl delivers during the first inning against the Diamondbacks Wednesday, May 31, 2017, at PNC Park.

Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review

The Pirates’ Gregory Polanco delivers a pinch-hit RBI single during the fifth inning against the Diamondbacks Wednesday, May 31, 2017, at PNC Park.

Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review

Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer hits a solo home run during the 11th inning against the Diamondbacks Wednesday, May 31, 2017, at PNC Park.

Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review

Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen makes a leaping catch at the outfield wall in a downpour to rob the Diamondbacks’ Paul Goldschmidt with the bases loaded during the 11th inning Wednesday, May 31, 2017, at PNC Park.

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Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review

The Diamondbacks’ David Peralta scores the winning run past Pirates catcher Elias Diaz during the 14th inning Wednesday, May 31, 2017, at PNC Park.

Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review

The Pirates’ Gregory Polanco drives in a run with a pinch-hit single during the fifth inning against the Diamondbacks Wednesday, May 31, 2017, at PNC Park.

Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review

A PNC Park grounds crew member works to repair the field during a steady rain in the 12th inning of the Pirates game against the Diamondbacks Wednesday, May 31, 2017.

Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review

Pirates reliever JhanMarinez delivers during the 13th inning against the Diamondbacks Wednesday, May 31, 2017, at PNC Park.



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