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Pirates rally twice to beat Padres, capping sweep



PITTSBURGH – The Pirates' remarkable rallies in the ninth and 11th innings on Sunday afternoon at PNC Park were a perfect representation of the resilience they've shown throughout this season, the reason they still believe they can compete despite everything that's gone

They were down three in the ninth against a closer who did not blow and save all season, but they battled back to tie the game. They were down three again in the 11th, three outs to an ugly loss, then all of a sudden Kevin Newman was on the plate taking ball four to cap the Bucs' 11-10 win over the Padres with a walk-off walk.

• Boxing Score

"This is one of the best wins that I've watched in nine years here, for sure," said Clint Hurdle. Pirates are still tied for the last place in the National League Central, but they are only 5 1

/2 games behind the division-leading Cubs, and they can see the brighter days ahead, with their pitching getting healthy enough to support a strong lineup, they have won four in a row and six of their past eight games after dropping seven straight

"This was a big sweep for us. "We are really not far off in the division," catcher Jacob Stallings said. dances, and all the guys know that. "

Where does that leave the Pirates with a little more than a month left before the Trade Deadline? Well, it leaves them waiting. Some may be in a hurry to declare them sellers, but the front office is going to give the team a chance to declare itself after the fight to stay afloat for this long

"To be in a good two-week run of and division lead and some very good teams ahead of us, it speaks to resilience and it speaks to what could come together, "said general manager Neal Huntington. "Now, we have to make it come together. We have a stretch of really interesting games going into the All-Star break.

"It's a good time to play really well and close the gap and put us in a good spot." , the Pirates played well enough on Sunday

They lost a lead in a sloppy game that ended almost five hours after Steven Brault's first pitch, but they overcame a three-run deficit against Padres closer Kirby Yates – who was

Elias Diaz reached on an error by Manny Machado, Adam Frazier hit a double to right-center, Newman tapped an infield single, and Bryan Reynolds lined a RBI single to center. Starling Mars dropped to sacrifice bunt, and Melky Cabrera's groundout ultimately brought home the tying run

"We're trying to find ways to get some traction. Today was a day that could have got us, "Hurdle said. "We played a part in it and two different times, and we were able to fight through it. That collective effort in the box has been real.

Francisco Liriano was one pitch away from escaping a base-loaded jam in 11th, but Manuel Margot dropped a perfectly placed bunt single before Austin Hedges put San

"When we came back in and we were down three again," Newman said, "It was like, 'Hey, why not? '"

Reynolds walked, Bell singled to the right and Cabrera pulled an RBI double to right. Up came pinch-hitter Stallings, the last man off the bench, who lined up the game-tying single to the left field. Jose Osuna singled out and Diaz walked, then Newman took a high, full-count slider from Matt Wisler to draw the Bucs' first walk-off walk from June 19, 2014.

"Out of the hand, I thought it was up , "Newman said. "It was a big situation, but at the end of the day, it's another pitch.

It was an uplifting end to an encouraging homestand. The Pirates overcame a six-run deficit to beat the Tigers 8-7 on Wednesday, and Trevor Williams called victory and turning point. They then promptly swept the Padres. They will need more than a four-game winning streak to climb back into the race, however.

Their upcoming road trip will take them to Houston and Milwaukee. July is full of games against the teams they are trailing in the NL Central: the Cubs, Brewers, Cardinals and, in the days leading up to July 31, the Reds

"I think it's a good time to get into and groove and feel like we're in a good spot going into Houston and Milwaukee, "Brault said. "It's going to be a tough road trip. It's going to be fun. I think we all feel the same way, we like where we are at. "

Last year, the Pirates were in an almost identical place after 76 games. They had the same record, 36-40, and things actually got worse before they briefly got better. Pittsburgh fell to 40-48 on July 7 then reeled off 16 wins in the next 20 games. That surge led to Bucs' acquisitions of Keone Kela and Chris Archer at the high cost of young players including Austin Meadows, Tyler Glasnow, Shane Baz and Taylor Hearn

Huntington said the Pirates will not overreact to a good 10- game stretch, but a similar run might inspire the front office to add to this roster rather than sell off pending free agents such as Cabrera, Liriano, Jordan Lyles and Corey Dickerson

Whatever happens, there is no doubt these Pirates are going to keep fighting.

"We love to win. We love playing the game hard, "Diaz said. "

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog

This is why we fight to out 27 or more.
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