Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker celebrate after Alvarez scored on a single by Travis Snider and Walker scored on an error by Los Angeles Angels’ J.B. Shuck during the 10th inning of their baseball game, Sunday, June 23, 2013, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
by Joe Resnick
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Pedro Alvarez homered for the fourth straight game, Starling Marte capped a three-run ninth inning with a tying single, and the Pittsburgh Pirates added four more in the 10th to beat the Los Angeles Angels 10-9 on Sunday and complete their first interleague sweep on the road.
Trailing 6-3 entering the ninth, the Pirates pulled even against closer Ernesto Frieri — his second blown save in 19 attempts.
Starling Marte hits an RBI-single during the ninth inning of their baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Sunday, June 23, 2013, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
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.
Martin also had an RBI single in the 10th. Alvarez led off that inning against Kevin Jepsen (0-2) with a double over the head of center fielder Mike Trout, who 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.
Mark Melancon (2-1) pitched a perfect inning for the win.
Jason Grilli got three outs for his for his NL-leading 27th save in 28 attempts, despite giving up five hits, including RBI singles by Alberto Callaspo, Shuck and Brandan Harris. The right-hander finally ended it by striking out Trout with the potential tying and winning runs at third and second.
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 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.
Angels starter Joe 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.
For the third straight game, Alvarez homered his first time up after tagging Jered Weaver on Friday and Jerome Williams on Saturday.
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, cutting the margin to 5-3.
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.