Things might be awkward between Pedro Alvarez and his father-in-law during the next family visit. The Pirates (48-34) defeated the San Diego Padres, managed by Pedro’s father-in-law, in walk-off fashion on a 2-out RBI-single by Alvarez. It was an event-filled night at PNC Park, and any time Jerry Meals is one of the four umpires in a Pirates game, things tend to get just a little interesting. With a tie game at 1-1 in the eighth inning, A.J. Burnett appeared to strike out Derek Norris swinging to end the inning, but home plate umpire Paul Emmel motioned that Norris tipped the pitch. After allowing another base hit, Burnett’s night was done, leaving the 23,000-plus fans irate at the umpiring crew. Tony Watson came in and struck out Matt Kemp to end the inning, setting the scene for Pedro to walk-off just an inning later.
Just before first pitch tonight at PNC Park, four Pirates found out they were selected to the National League All-Star team. Andrew McCutchen was named to his fith All-Star Game, as a starter in place of injured Marlins slugger, Giancarlo Stanton. Mark Melancon was named to his second All-Star game, and Gerrit Cole, the Major League-leader in wins, was named to his first. Also named to his first All-Star game in his 17-year career was tonight’s starter, A.J. Burnett.
Burnett showed tonight how deserving he is of the selection, battling with San Diego’s James Shields throughout most of the night. Burnett allowed his only earned run of the night on an Amarista sac-fly in the 2nd inning, but Burnett was dominant the rest of the way until the debacle in the eighth inning. He finished with a line of 7.2 innings pitched, 5 hits, 1 ER, 4 strikeouts, and 3 walks, lowering his season ERA to 1.99. Shields was arguable even more dominant for the Padres, but allowed an unearned run in the bottom of the 7th when Pedro Alvarez hit a sharp ground ball towards third baseman Yangervis Solarte, which he snagged on a dive, but threw away at first base, allowing McCutchen to score the Pirates first run. McCutchen extended his hitting streak to 13 games tonight on a double earlier in the inning.
The Pirates and Padres play game 2 of this 3-game series tomorrow night at 7:05 ET. Pittsburgh’s Francisco Liriano (5-6, 2.99 ERA) will face off against San Diego’s Tyson Ross (5-7, 3.63 ERA).