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06/23/2013 10:36 PM EDT
Bucs rally with 7 late runs, top Angels 10-9 in 10
PITTSBURGH 10, LA ANGELS 9 (10 INNINGS)

By JOE RESNICK
Associated Press

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Pittsburgh closer Jason Grilli and Los
Angeles Angels counterpart Ernesto Frieri each gave up three
runs Sunday. The final outcome came down to one pitch that Mike
Trout missed.



Pedro Alvarez homered for the fourth straight game, Starling
Marte capped a three-run ninth inning with a tying single, and
the Pirates added four more in the 10th to beat the Angels 10-9
and complete their first interleague sweep on the road.



Trailing 6-3 entering the ninth, the Pirates pulled even against
Frieri - his second blown save in 19 attempts. The right-hander
issued a leadoff walk to Neil Walker, ending his string of 22
consecutive batters retired, then gave up a single to Gaby
Sanchez and a one-out grounder by pinch-hitter Andrew McCutchen
that scored Walker.



Next came a pinch-hit RBI double by Russell Martin over the head
of rookie left fielder J.B. Shuck, followed by Marte's clutch
hit.



"I got to hang out in the air conditioning in here for about six
innings, so I felt fresh when I got out there," Martin said with
a grin. "But our guys battled back and had great ABs
collectively, top to bottom, and it was fun to be a part of. We
have no quit, that's for sure."



Martin drove in the final run - and ultimately the decisive one
- with an RBI single in the 10th.



"Ernie's been throwing the ball as well as anybody in the
league," losing pitcher Kevin Jepsen said. "Anybody can have a
rough game. When you're pitching in the back of the `pen when
the game is on the line, it's just more magnified. He was one
strike away a couple of times, so it wasn't like he had no shot.
Sometimes that's how close you come. But Ernie is very resilient
and he'll be fine."



Alvarez led off the 10th against Jepsen (0-2) with a double to
center field over Trout's head - seven innings after Trout had
shifted over from left after an injury to Peter Bourjos.



A pair of one-out walks, one of them intentional to Walker,
loaded the bases and brought up Travis Snider. He promptly lined
a single to left that bounced over Shuck's head for an error and
all the way to the fence as all three runners scored.



"When those guys get guys on base, they take advantage. That's
why they're playing as well as they are," Jepsen said.



Grilli closed it out despite giving up five hits, including RBI
singles by Alberto Callaspo, Shuck and Brendan Harris. The
right-hander finally ended it by striking out Trout with the
potential tying and winning runs at third and second.



"We pushed all the chips in and got what we needed to get from
our guys - and at the end of the day, the gunslinger got it
done," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.



Mark Melancon (2-1) pitched a perfect inning for the win.



Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton was charged with six runs -
three earned - and four hits through 5 2-3 innings in his third
start of the season. The right-hander missed the first 65 games
while recovering from elbow surgery last June.



Pirates catcher Tony Sanchez, the team's No. 1 draft pick in
2009, went 1 for 4 in his major league debut - as the designated
hitter.



His first time up he hit a ground-rule double against Joe
Blanton that struck the 18-foot wall in right field halfway up
and became wedged at the bottom of the out-of-town scoreboard.
The ball remained there until the end of the half-inning, when a
maintenance worker climbed a ladder and plucked it out before
giving it to Pirates right fielder Garrett Jones.



"When I walked up to the plate, my legs started shaking
uncontrollably," Sanchez said. "I told (Angels catcher Chris)
Iannetta: `I can't stop shaking. I don't know what to do.' And
he said: `Just breathe. Just breathe.' So I took one step out of
the box and took a breath, but that didn't help. Then Blanton
threw me a ball that I could handle. It felt really good off the
bat, and I could not stop smiling. I didn't think I was going to
get the ball back. I thought it was going to be stuck up there."



Blanton, who is 1-10, allowed three runs - one earned - and six
hits in 7 1-3 innings. The right-hander struck out six, walked
none and retired his last 14 batters. His only victory was May
23 during the Angels' four-game sweep in Kansas City.



"Sometimes you have those years," Blanton said. "Baseball is a
crazy game sometimes, and you've just got to keep executing out
there and doing your work between starts and don't give up no
matter what happens."



For the third straight game, Alvarez homered his first time up
after tagging Jered Weaver on Friday and Jerome Williams on
Saturday. He is hitting .272 with 19 homers and 50 RBIs over his
last 55 games, after batting .089 with one RBI in his first 13
games.



"He's got his confidence back," Martin said.



The Angels pulled ahead 5-1 in the second, parlaying errors by
second baseman Walker and third baseman Alvarez into five runs -
three of which were unearned.



Pittsburgh came back with a pair of unearned runs in the third.



Bourjos hurt his left thumb on a takeout slide and came out of
the game. Newly acquired Brad Hawpe entered in right as the
Angeles shuffled outfielders and then drove in the team's sixth
run with a two-out single in the fourth.



NOTES: Albert Pujols grounded out with the bases loaded, making
him 1 for 9 in those situations this season. ... Blanton is 0-12
with six no-decisions in the last 18 games in which he's allowed
a home run. ... Pittsburgh's only other three-game sweeps
against AL clubs were at home against the White Sox in 1997, the
Indians in 2001, and the Royals last June. ... Sanchez is one of
eight first-round picks on Pittsburgh's 25-man roster. ... Angel
Stadium was the site of Morton's major league debut on June 14,
2008, when he pitched for Atlanta and won 9-4. ... Pirates RHP
Duke Welker made his big league debut with a perfect eighth
inning. ... A home run Tuesday night in Seattle would make
Alvarez the first Pirates batter to connect in five straight
games since Jose Castillo in May 2006. Alvarez moved up from
fifth to third in the batting order with McCutchen and Martin
out of the starting lineup. ... Pirates LHP Jeff Locke puts his
NL-best 2.01 ERA on the line in the opener of the two-game set
at Safeco Field.

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