PITTSBURGH (AP) — For 20 years, the Pittsburgh Pirates couldn’t win. Now, it seems they cannot lose.
Russell Martin’s pinch-hit single with two outs in the 10th inning lifted the Pirates over the Miami Marlins 5-4 Thursday for their fifth straight win.
Martin delivered his fourth game-ending hit at PNC Park this year for the NL Central leaders.
The Pirates swept the three-game series and improved to 70-44, the best record in the majors. Miami lost a 4-0 lead and fell for the fifth time in a row.
“We’re like the Miami Heat,” Pittsburgh star center fielder Andrew McCutchen said. “We play better in the second half of games.”
Pittsburgh has had 20 consecutive losing seasons, a major North American professional sports record.
“It’s been so much fun,” Pirates second baseman Neil Walker said. “It seems like it’s somebody different every day that’s been the hero.”
Josh Harrison opened the 10th with a single off Steve Ames (0-1) and took second on Clint Barmes’ sacrifice bunt. After Jose Tabata bounced out and Starling Marte was intentionally walked, Martin batted for Jared Hughes (2-2) and grounded a single down the left-field line.
“I like those situations,” Martin said. “Some people would say they are pressure situations, but I don’t look at it that way. There is a heightened focus for me when the game is on the line and I feel more relaxed because of it. I feel I perform better with the game on the line.”
It was the Pirates’ 28th comeback win.
“It’s just our mindset,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. “Offensively, we know we’ve got some work to do and areas to improve on, but we’re long on guts. We keep playing to the end and grinding out at-bats. We’ve shown the resolve to play out some big opportunities.”