PITTSBURGH (AP) — Rookie Jack Suwinski hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning and the Pittsburgh Pirates rallied past the Arizona Diamondbacks 2-1 on Saturday.
Bryan Reynolds led off the ninth with a single against Mark Melancon (1-6), who blew his second save in 13 opportunities. Suwinski then lofted a flyball into the right-field stands on the ninth pitch of the at-bat for his first career game-ending hit and sixth home run of the season.
“It was awesome. Cool experience,” Suwinski said. “That’s the stuff you think about playing Wiffle Ball in your backyard. That’s my first time doing that, so it was pretty cool. Pretty special.”
Suwinski leads NL rookies in home runs. It has been an impressive showing for the 23-year-old right fielder, who was called up from Double-A Altoona in April in an emergency situation when Reynolds had a one-day stint on the COVID-19 injury list.
“I’m super thankful and grateful for them to give me the opportunity in the first place and then to let me stick around long enough to get comfortable and make adjustments and see what kind of player I am at the big league level,” Suwinski said.
The homer spoiled an outstanding effort by Arizona starter Zach Davies, who pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings. He allowed three hits, struck out six and walked two.
Chris Stratton (3-2) pitched a scoreless ninth in his 200th career appearance.
Davies retired 18 batters in a row starting in the second inning until walking Tucapita Marcano with two outs in the eighth.
“He was keeping hitters off-balance, and that’s what hitting is, trying to stay on-balance and have good timing,” Suwinski said. “He was doing a good job of mixing spots and speeds and location.”
The Pirates loaded the bases before Ian Kennedy relieved Davies and struck out Ke’Bryan Hayes to end the threat and preserve the 1-0 lead.
Arizona’s Ketel Marte hit a pair of doubles and scored his team’s lone run in the sixth on a wild pitch while extending his hitting streak to a career-high 16 games.
Marte hit a one-out double and moved to third when shortstop Rodolfo Castro fumbled Christian Walker’s grounder for an error. Marte scored on Roansy Contreras’ wild pitch on the last pitch of a 10-pitch walk to Jordan Luplow with two outs.
Marte is hitting .362 since April 30, lifting his batting average to .268.
Contreras pitched well in his fourth career start, allowing one unearned run and four hits in 5 2/3 innings while striking out eight and walking two.
“We’ve talked about that we’re going to have a lot of good things that happen with young players,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton. “We’re going to continue to funnel young players through. Today we saw two rookies do something really special.”
GONE TO THE DOGS
Melancon has brought his dog along for his team’s 10-game road trip that began Friday. The Labrador retriever, named Lou Holtz after the former Notre Dame football coach, has been a big hit with the rest of the players while roaming through the clubhouse.
Diamondbacks: Luplow (bruised left foot) was in the starting lineup for the first time in a week as the DH. He did pinch-hit Tuesday against Atlanta.
Pirates: Triple-A Indianapolis RHP Max Kranick underwent Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery Friday and will miss the remainder of the season and likely most or all of 2023. Kranick made his major league debut last year.
Diamondbacks: RHP Zac Gallen (4-0, 2.32 ERA) is scheduled to start the finale of the three-game series Sunday. He is 6-0 with a 2.31 ERA in his last 11 starts dating to last season.
Pirates: RHP Zach Thompson (2-4, 5.18) makes his first start in June after having a 2.45 ERA in May.
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