PITTSBURGH (AP) — When the St. Louis Cardinals recalled Nick Greenwood from Triple-A Memphis earlier in the day Saturday, few could have guessed he’d be needed to close out a game against a former National League MVP several hours later.
Andrew McCutchen’s two-run home run off of Greenwood in the 14th inning capped Pittsburgh’s third rally of the night and helped the Pirates beat the Cardinals 6-5 on Saturday night.
McCutchen’s homer to center immediately followed Neil Walker’s leadoff single and extended his hitting streak to a career-high 18 games.
“It didn’t matter who was up there; could have been him, it could have been anyone else — the team put me in a good spot to win and I didn’t execute,” Greenwood said of his season debut. “I made a bad pitch, and he hit a home run.”
McCutchen’s 12th home run of the season capped the Pirates’ third rally of the game after they had previously trailed 3-0 — including 3-1 heading into the eighth — and 4-3 in the 10th.
“We had the lead three different times, and that’s something that doesn’t typically slip away,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. “But today was one of those days.”
Mark Reynolds hit two solo homers and Matt Carpenter scored three times for the Cardinals, whose NL Central lead was reduced to 3 1-2 games, the smallest it’s been since May 24.
“You play that long of a game, it’s a tough one to lose,” Carpenter said.
Reynolds has eight home runs. Jhonny Peralta’s single off Vance Worley (3-4) in the top of the 14th drove in Carpenter.
The Pirates have won seven of eight and 10 of 12. Pittsburgh, which has the NL’s second-best record, lost the first three games of the season series with the Cardinals in extra innings in May.
“Quite the climactic ending right there,” McCutchen said. “That was a lot of fun. Who would’ve thought it would’ve came down to that?”
With two outs and nobody on in the second, Reynolds appeared to have struck out — indeed, television replays showed he swung and missed at a 1-2 Burnett curveball. But home plate umpire Vic Carapazza ruled a foul tip.
Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli and Hurdle each briefly argued the call. After the next pitch, however, each became livid.
Reynolds homered down the left-field line, his seventh. Cervelli was ejected moments later. Hurdle and coach Brad Fischer came out to argue and restrain an incensed Cervelli. After several minutes of arguing with Carapazza, Hurdle was ejected by him.
“If you look at the video, it looks like maybe I got a seam on it or something,” Reynolds said. “I heard something and Vic heard something, I guess, and gave me a foul ball, gave me another chance.”
Carapazza declined to comment after the game. Crew chief Larry Vanover told a pool reporter that Carapazza made a foul ball call because he heard a tip. The ejection, Vanover said, was due to language.
TRIAL BY FIRE
The Cardinals announced the recall of pitchers Sam Tuivailala and Greenwood from Triple-A Memphis on Saturday afternoon. Several hours later, both were needed.
Tuivailala pitched scoreless 12th and 13th innings, and was in line for the win until Greenwood allowed each of the two batters he faced to reach and, ultimately, score.
The Cardinals added an extra arm to their overworked bullpen just for such a scenario.
“We knew we had to get someone to get us later in the game and then somebody top throw until it was over,” Matheny said. “And it was Greenwood’s game to throw – he’s done a nice job at Triple-A for us, and he’s done a nice job in the past. That was a tough spot for him to come into.”
Pirates LHP Francisco Liriano has allowed more than three runs in just three of his 17 starts this season. However, that lone occasion came at PNC Park against the Cardinals, whom he will face in a nationally-televised game Sunday night. Pittsburgh has lost both of Liriano’s starts against St. Louis this season.
Cardinals: 2B Kolten Wong left the game an inning after being hit by a pitch in the 11th. “His hammy had tightened up because of that hit by pitch so I had to get him out,” Matheny said. “It didn’t seem to be anything serious; just hit him in a bad spot that’s all.” . RHP Mitch Harris was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday after sustaining a right groin strain while warming up in the bullpen Friday night.
Pirates: OF Starling Marte returned to the lineup Saturday after missing the previous five games because of discomfort in his left side. The team leader in home runs, Marte batted cleanup and went 1 for 4.