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Pirates hold off Orioles 9-8

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 21, 2014 at 10:51 pm •  Published: May 21, 2014
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PITTSBURGH (AP) — Tony Sanchez knows he's heading back to Triple-A soon enough.

The Pittsburgh Pirates backup catcher will be going to Indianapolis when Russell Martin's strained left hamstring is healed.

It's a reality Sanchez can deal with so long as he makes a contribution while given the chance.

At the moment, that's hardly a problem.

Sanchez tiebreaking single off Baltimore's Ryan Webb in the bottom of the seventh scored Starling Marte to give the Pirates the lead for good in a 9-8 win on Wednesday night.

Coming off an embarrassing 9-2 loss on Tuesday and desperately in need of something positive, Sanchez helped Pittsburgh earn a split of the brief two-game interleague set.

"It's almost a must win," Sanchez said. "We didn't have a really good road trip. To start off this homestand and go 0-2 it wouldn't have been pretty. That's huge for me."

Andrew McCutchen went 3 for 4 with an RBI and his first two extra-base hits in more than two weeks for Pittsburgh, which won for only the third time in its past nine games. Marte and Ike Davis had three hits and two RBIs apiece for the Pirates.

Bryan Morris (4-0) earned the victory after allowing the Orioles to tie the game in the top of the seventh.

No biggie.

Mark Melancon worked a perfect ninth for his seventh save, one that capped a weird night in which the teams combined for 14 runs in the first two innings while starters Wandy Rodriguez and Chris Tillman took turns getting hit hard.

It ended in more orderly fashion after Marte led off the seventh with a bunt single, moved to third on a single by Davis and scored when Sanchez laced a Webb offering into right field.

"It's a game-winning hit, he's got a few of them," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Sanchez. "He's got extreme confidence."

Nelson Cruz hit his 14th homer of the season and drove in three runs for the Orioles. Nick Markakis, Chris Davis and JJ Hardy had two hits and one RBI apiece but Baltimore left 10 men on base.

"You had two early exits from starters and it became a game out of the bullpen and they pushed one across there late," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. "But our guys, we had a couple opportunities to score some more, but I can't fault the offense."

Pittsburgh began the night eight games under .500 in part because of a struggling starting staff that has hardly looked like the group that led the team to the postseason last fall.

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