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August 18, 2013

Pirates fall short in 16 inning marathon, lose 4-2

PITTSBURGH — Adam Eaton’s bloop double in the 16th inning drove in two runs, and the Arizona Diamondbacks outlasted the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-2 on Sunday.

Eaton’s career-high fourth hit came during his seventh at-bat, with A.J. Pollock and Didi Gregorius on and two outs. Eaton fought off a 1-0 pitch from Kris Johnson and dunked the ball into shallow left-center. A sprinting Andrew McCutchen failed in his attempt at a diving catch.

Arizona remained five games behind Cincinnati in the race for the second NL wild-card spot. Pittsburgh’s lead in the NL Central dwindled to one game over St. Louis.

The Pirates dropped two of three to Arizona, losing their third consecutive series.

Wade Miley limited the Pirates to two runs over eight innings and Aaron Hill went 4 for 7 to extend his hitting streak to 11 games for Arizona.

The Diamondbacks (64-58) play their next four games in Cincinnati against the Reds, who are 2 1/2 games back of the Pirates in the division race.

Arizona’s victory was its 27th in its final at-bat, by far the most in the majors. It also was the Diamondbacks’ 36th comeback win — second-most in the majors — and club-record 13th in extra innings. They are 9-0 when playing beyond nine innings on a so-called “travel day.”

Six Arizona relievers combined to pitch eight scoreless innings. Brad Ziegler (7-1) had two strikeouts while pitching perfect 14th and 15th innings, and J.J. Putz worked around two walks — one intentional — in the 16th to earn his sixth save. Capping his major league debut, Johnson struck out swinging to end the game.

Johnson (0-1) threw 82 pitches in six innings after being selected from Triple-A Indianapolis earlier in the day. He had five strikeouts and allowed five hits and two walks. Johnson was aided by Starling Marte’s sliding catch on a soft liner to left-center with two on and two outs in the 12th.

After Hill’s based-loaded single scored Eaton in the sixth, the Diamondbacks had the bases loaded and no outs with an opportunity take the lead. They tied it at 2 as Martin Prado scored when Gerardo Parra grounded into a double play.

Arizona also loaded the bases against Pirates starter Charlie Morton in the seventh, but Prado’s hard line drive was hit right at third baseman Pedro Alvarez, and Morton struck out Paul Goldschmidt to end the inning.

Morton allowed two runs on seven hits and three walks with six strikeouts.

Pirates reliever Tony Watson allowed a single during each of his two innings, but struck out the side in the ninth. Mark Melancon worked a scoreless 10th and has allowed an earned run during just one of his past 26 outings.

The Pirates scored once each in the first and third on RBI doubles from Russell Martin and Jordy Mercer, who had three hits.

Miley, who has a 2.04 ERA over his past nine starts, limited baserunners.

Heath Bell worked two scoreless innings for the Diamondbacks. Bell came on in the ninth after Joe Thatcher walked Alvarez to lead off the inning.

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