Pirates Show Grit in Crazy 14 Inning Comeback Victory

Grit. Determination. Perseverance.

Clint Hurdle’s 2015 Pittsburgh Pirates are a team described perfectly by their manager:

“We had grit all over,” Hurdle said after the game. “I’ve always been proud of these guys. Tonight was just another example – an explanation point behind it. Grit. Determination. Perseverance. You keep playing the game.”

Tonight’s win by the Pirates, led by Andrew McCutchen and his massive 14th inning home run, is the team’s 24th comeback win of the season; however, they were 0-28 going into tonight’s game when trailing after seven innings. In extra inning games, the Pirates are now 5-7 after tonight’s win.

Speaking of McCutchen, he was able to extend his hitting streak to 18-games in dramatic fashion on the North Shore. During his streak going into tonight’s game, McCutchen was 21-for-58 for a .362 batting average. You can make that number 22 now… and it was one to remember.

“It was quite the dramatic ending right there,” McCutchen said. “That was a lot of fun. Who would’ve thought it would come down to that? It all starts with Walker leading off the inning by getting a single and getting on base.”

“That was definitely a game to remember.”

With that home run, McCutchen moves into eighth place all alone on the Pirates’ all time list in home runs with 140 in his career. He was tied with Jason Bay after homering on Thursday night.

Of course, the game did not start the way that you would expect – another missed foul tip call for AJ Burnett, this time resulting in the ejection of catcher Francisco Cervelli and manager Clint Hurdle.

Crew chief Larry Vanover said after the game that home plate umpire Vic Carapazza heard a foul tip on the pitch. He then ejected Cervelli immediately because of language. Hurdle explained that he was more upset with the quick hook on Cervelli than the actual call.

“My biggest beef that I learned in elementary school is two wrongs don’t make a right,” Hurdle said.

“The man is upset, let him go,” Hurdle said, talking about Cervelli. “To get the short hook in the top of the second inning – for me, it makes no sense. No game awareness. It was hard; it was wrong. He said that [Cervelli] said something personal. You know what, we’re professionals. You hear a foul tip that wasn’t a foul tip. The quick hook tilted me the wrong direction.”

A.J. Burnett was still able to labor through 6.1 innings while still giving his team a chance to come back and win. He didn’t just contribute on the mound; rather, he brought out his bat to hit his fourth professional home run and first since 2005 (July 24th against Kevin Correia). Burnett was more ecstatic about the home run after the game than anything, mostly because his sons have continually bugged him to hit one.

“It was so loud running around those bases,” Burnett said. “All I could think about was my 11-year-old who has been begging me for a home run. I tried to explain to him that it’s not that easy to do it, but I ran into one.”

“My wife said he was in [the suite] just going crazy.”

Grit. Determination. Perseverance. The Pirates showed that tonight on the North Shore. And they gained one more game on these pesky St. Louis Cardinals, too.


  • Not only was this the most important game of the season thus far, Cutch’s homer was the most important at bat of the season thus far.

  • Joseph Willis
    July 12, 2015 10:47 am

    Now who will they call up and send down for bullpen help today? Can they just call them back up as long as they have options since its the all star break?

    • I would probably call up a backup catcher and send Lombardozzi down. I would also call up another bullpen arm and send Guerra down, although he’s been terrific.

      • Given the AS break you have Locke for long relief – but he will not be needed. Frankie is going to put the hammer down and throw a complete game shut out – the Cards are scuffling – and last night hit them hard IMHO

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    July 12, 2015 10:33 am

    That was one for the archives….just a mid-season, regular season game, but an important one nonetheless and had all the drama and intrigue of a World Series game. More importantly, if the Pirates did not have confidence in themselves, no matter who the opponent is, they should now.

    Now, that sets up today’s game to be even more important. To lose and only get a split at home against the Cardinals, would be disappointing. Liriano needs to be at his best today. Beat ’em Bucs!

  • A simple solution to all the arguments at home plate, use the radar to call all pitches and plays. Then demote that blind deft mute umpire to low class A. When that writer wrote the book ” Peter’s Principle” he was thinking about that home plate umpire.

  • Game was blacked out here in SC Pa. Thanks Fox!

  • Good game, bad umps.

  • Easily the biggest win of the season. Though it’s going to lose some of its luster if the Bucs just get a series split.

    • Blaine: It spoke volumes, especially after taking those heartbreaking extra inning losses in St Louis earlier in the year. The Pirates did not quit in the 8th, 10th, or the 14th when it looked pretty bleak.

      It will not lose any luster going forward. In the end, two excellent ballclubs with plenty of character and heart.

  • Kirit Ganguli
    July 12, 2015 1:58 am

    The hitting streak angle is nuts. Cutch is 0-3, having seen all of 6 pitches, going into the bottom of the 8th, proceeds to get walked three times, once intentionally, before the walkoff home run in the 14th. Start out 0-3, finish with an OPS of 1.571, if I’m doing the math right in my head.

  • Dream come true. So fun following this one from afar tonight. Wish I could have been there!