The Pittsburgh Pirates scored three runs in the ninth inning to force extra play, added four runs in the tenth inning, and then held on for a 10-9 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday in Anaheim, and their first-ever interleague series sweep on the road.
Pedro Alvarez homered for the fourth straight game. Alvarez, Starling Marte, Gaby Sanchez and Russell Martin each recorded two hits as the Bucs rebounded from deficits of 5-1 and 6-3. The game, though, was not determined until Pittsburgh closer Jason Grilli finally made his way out of a tenth-inning jam. Grilli, in a non-save appearance, allowed three runs on five hits before striking out Mike Trout to end the game.
Mark Melancon (2-1; 0.96 ERA), who worked the ninth inning, earned the win over Kevin Jepsen (0-2; 5.17 ERA). The game marked the Major League debuts for two Pirates players, catcher Tony Sanchez, who went 1-for-4 with a double as a designated hitter, and pitcher Duke Welker, who pitched a perfect eighth inning.
The Angels dropped to 33-43. The Pirates, meanwhile, now have the second-best record in the Majors (46-30), and moved to within one game of the National League Central Division’s leaders, the St. Louis Cardinals, who lost a rain-delayed, late-night game to Texas by a 2-1 score.
The Pirates won Saturday night’s game 6-1 as Alvarez, Andrew McCutchen and Gaby Sanchez all homered, Travis Snider and Jordy Mercer singled home runs, and Martin walked with the bases loaded. Starter Francisco Liriano (6-3; 2.30 ERA) earned the win. Alvarez, Mercer, Gaby Sanchez and Neil Walker all recorded two hits.
Alvarez and Mercer both homered in a 5-2 Pirates win in Friday’s series opener. Marte added an RBI triple, and McCutchen contributed an RBI double. Gerrit Cole, making his third Major League start, improved to 3-0 (3.44 ERA), allowing only two runs and four hits over six-and-a-third innings, with five strikeouts and one walk. Albert Pujols homered for the Angels.
The Pirates will take Monday off before starting a two-game series against the Mariners (34-43) in Seattle on Tuesday night. Lefty Jeff Locke, who is 6-1, and leads all National League starters with a 2.01 ERA, is scheduled to start for Pittsburgh against Seattle southpaw Joe Saunders (5-7; 4.48 ERA).