Diamondbacks 5, Pirates 4

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PITTSBURGH (AP)—A day after being replaced in Arizona’s lineup by a rookie, struggling Alex Cintron came through when the Diamondbacks needed him.

Cintron broke out of a 2-for-20 slump, going 2-for-5 and singling home the winning run in the ninth inning Monday night to give Arizona a 5-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

“It’s a great feeling for me because I’ve been struggling all year,” the shortstop said.

Cintron, batting .245 with four homers and 39 RBIs, was benched Sunday in favor of rookie Jerry Gil.

“I’ve been struggling all year with my timing, so I’ve just been trying to help the team defensively,” Cintron said. “I’ve got to step up and do the job now.”

Pinch-hitter Carlos Baerga led off the ninth against John Grabow (2-5) with an infield single. Gil moved to second on Quinton McCracken’s sacrifice before Cintron did exactly what manager Al Pedrique was hoping he’d do.

“He had a great at-bat in the ninth, defensively he played good and he was running the bases very aggressively,” Pedrique said of Cintron, who also had an RBI double in the second inning. “That’s the Alex we’d like to see on an everyday basis.”

Grabow, who had a 12.60 ERA in seven games this month entering Monday’s game, knows what’s gone wrong for him.

“It’s real simple: I’m getting the ball up in the zone,” he said. “You can’t do that coming out of the bullpen. It’s not acceptable.”

Reliever Shane Nance (1-0) got two outs for his first major league victory. Greg Aquino pitched the ninth for his seventh save as Arizona won its first one-run game on the road since a 3-2 victory at Toronto on June 11.

Pittsburgh starter John Van Benschoten hit a two-run homer for his first big league hit, but the Pirates lost their fifth straight.

“It was an all-around bad game for us,” Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said.

Van Benschoten, recalled from Triple-A Nashville earlier in the day to make his second career start, allowed four runs—one earned—and six hits over the first three innings. He settled down to retire 13 straight before Danny Bautista’s seventh-inning single and finished with four strikeouts and two walks in seven innings.

“It was a little bit of an adjustment for me, so I just slowed myself down,” Van Benschoten said. “That’s all I could think about. Obviously, it would have been nice to pick up a win. But I was getting used to PNC Park, all the fans. It was a fun day, no matter what happened in the end.”

Diamondbacks starter Casey Fossum, who beat Van Benschoten last Wednesday at Arizona, allowed four runs and eight hits in six innings while he continues to work on a new delivery. He struck out four and walked three.

“I started slowly again, but it was nice to keep us in there,” Fossum said. “Once it was 4-4, I got out of some jams with guys on base and made some pitches when I had to. I’m just trying to work down in the strike zone, and I felt I did that the last three innings.”

Pittsburgh’s Craig Wilson hit a solo homer to left field with one out in the third, tying it at 4.

Arizona took a 4-3 lead in the third when Shea Hillenbrand led off with a double and scored on Chris Snyder’s sacrifice fly.

The Diamondbacks scored three times with two outs to go ahead 3-1 in the second. Luis Terrero reached on a fielder’s choice and scored when Snyder hit his first major league homer.

“I knew a base was open and the pitcher was on deck. I just wanted to see the ball and put the bat on it,” Snyder said. “The pitch was up, and fortunately I put enough bat on it.”

Fossum then singled for his first hit in 27 big league at-bats, moved to second on McCracken’s single and scored on Cintron’s double.

In the bottom half, Van Benschoten followed Jose Castillo’s one-out double with his homer to center field to make it 3-all.

The Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the first when Jack Wilson singled with one out, moved to third on Jason Bay’s single and scored on Ty Wigginton’s sacrifice fly.

Notes

Pittsburgh is in the midst of a 14-game stretch in which it plays six games against Arizona and eight against St. Louis … The Diamondbacks’ six-game road trip, which concludes with three games in Cincinnati, begins a stretch in which they play 21 of 31 games on the road … Hillenbrand has hit safely in 15 of his last 17 games … Craig Wilson has more career homers in August (20) than in any other month. He has homered six times in the last 15 games.

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