PITTSBURGH (AP)—As comebacks go, this was one to remember.
Tike Redman hit a two-out, two-run triple off Adam Bernero (0-1) to tie it. Redman, called up earlier in the day from Triple-A Nashville to be Pittsburgh’s new everyday center fielder, fouled off four two-strike pitches before lining a shot into the right-center gap.
“Basically, I’m just up there battling and trying to keep the game going at that point,” Redman said. “I was determined to keep fouling pitches off until I got something I could handle. I was looking for a fastball, and he finally threw one to me on the inside half of the plate that I could drive.”
It was the Pirates’ biggest ninth-inning comeback since July 28, 2001, at PNC Park, when they rallied for seven runs with two outs to beat Houston 9-8. Redman also played a role in that comeback, drawing a walk in the ninth inning.
Rockies reliever Justin Speier entered Friday with a five-run lead to start the ninth and was charged with five runs. Craig Wilson singled with one out, Reggie Sanders doubled and Jose Hernandez walked to load the bases.
Pinch-hitter Jeff Reboulet walked, and Bernero came in to face Redman. After his two-run triple, Kendall lined an 0-1 pitch to left to win it, sending what was left of the crowd of 22,413 into a frenzy.
Kendall was mobbed by his teammates near first base.
“We just kept battling and battling and battling until we got it done,” Kendall said. “There were a lot of good at-bats from top to bottom in that inning. Tike’s at-bat was unbelievable. He refused to give in. We’ve been on the wrong side of a lot of these types of games this year. It sure feels good to win one at the end. It’s a heck of a lot of better feeling than to be on that other side.”
It was a terrible week for Speier, who has held the closer’s job for about a month. He allowed a game-tying solo homer to Cincinnati’s Jason LaRue in the ninth inning Wednesday for his first blown save and couldn’t control his pitches Friday.
Speier had walked only 15 batters in 52 innings coming in.
“I was all over the place,” Speier said. “I lost the game for us.”
“These are games you cannot lose at this level and expect to go anywhere,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said.
Duaner Sanchez (1-0) gave up a run in the ninth but earned his first major league victory.
Redman had two triples, two RBIs, two runs scored and two walks in his first big league game this season. He was up with the Pirates in 2001, and after last season was removed from the team’s 40-man roster. He was invited to spring training and improved at Nashville.
“He deserved another chance,” Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said. “I’m happy for him.”
The Pirates scored four times in the fifth off Rockies starter Denny Stark to cut it to 7-6 before reliever Aaron Cook stopped the rally. The Rockies increased their lead to 10-6 in the sixth on Johnson’s 13th homer of the season and Preston Wilson’s RBI single.
In the second, Stark drove in a run on a swinging bunt and former Pirate Tony Womack drove in two more with a chopper over a drawn-in infield that made it 5-2. Helton made it 7-2 in the fifth with his 23rd home run of the season deep into the right-field bleachers.
Giles started the Pirates’ big fifth with a solo home run. It was caught by a fan in the last row of the right-field bleachers.
With two outs, Jack Wilson drove in Matt Stairs with a single to left. Stairs came up lame as he headed toward home and left with a strained right hamstring.
Nunez followed with a single to left. The ball skipped past Jay Payton, who tried to barehand it. He was charged with an error and two runs scored to makeit 7-6.
The Pirates designated RHP Jim Mann for assignment and purchased the contract of RHP Mark Corey from Triple-A Nashville. Corey was leading the PCL with 30 saves. … The Pirates are 16-10 in their past 26 games at PNC Park. … Johnson drove in three runs and scored twice for the Rockies. … Stairs is day-to-day. … An error by 3B Hernandez in the sixth ended the Pirates’season-high errorless streak of 57 innings.