PITTSBURGH (AP) — St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny didn't mind the odds when he decided to let reliever Seth Maness face Pittsburgh pinch-hitter Ike Davis with two on in the eighth inning of a tie game on Tuesday night.
"I like Seth's chances right there," Matheny said. "We'll take our chances making a good pitch."
With a bad pitch, not so much.
Davis took a belt-high changeup from Maness and sent it into the last row of seats in right-center for a tiebreaking, three-run homer that lifted the Pirates to a 5-2 win.
"We got into a good count, had a couple real nice pitches and left one up in the middle," Matheny said. "That's not going to turn out well."
Davis took exception with a called strike from Maness (5-3) that made it 1-2. He watched a ball in the dirt before sinking his bat into an 84 mph offspeed pitch that turned into his ninth homer of the season.
"I cleared my head when I got in the box and tried to have a good at bat the rest of the time," Davis said. "He kind of left it a little higher than he wanted and I got a piece of it."
The Cardinals were overwhelmed for six innings by Pittsburgh starter Gerrit Cole but tied it in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Jon Jay and an RBI single from Randal Grichuk off reliever Tony Watson (9-1).
St. Louis was trying for a repeat of a 3-2 win on Tuesday night, when the Cardinals went silent against starter Francisco Liriano only to tag reliever Jared Hughes. Not this time. Pittsburgh closer Mark Melancon allowed one runner in the ninth but otherwise had little trouble in picking up his 23rd save.
The Pirates won after star center fielder Andrew McCutchen left in the fifth inning because of discomfort in his left ribs. Recently on the disabled list because of a rib problem, he ran into the wall earlier in the game.
"Today caught up to him in a couple of different ways," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of the reigning NL MVP. "Tonight got to be a point where we didn't think we needed to push any farther than he did."
Josh Harrison homered off in the fifth off St. Louis starter Lance Lynn, who gave up two runs on six innings, walking three and striking out three. Lynn wasn't quite crisp while searching for his 15th win but kept Pittsburgh at bay when he needed to. The Pirates left eight runners on base against Lynn.
"I never felt like I was in trouble," Lynn said. "I felt like I was in control of what I was doing and that's a plus. When it comes down to it you've got to make pitches."
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