The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Illinois

April 3, 2014

Cubs drop 16 inning battle

PITTSBURGH — In a game that took 5 hours, 55 minutes, pinch-hitter Tony Sanchez singled in the winning run in the bottom of the 16th inning to give the Pirates a 4-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night — the longest game in Pittsburgh history by time.

Sanchez’s hit came off Carlos Villanueva (0-2), ending the game just short of 1 a.m. and 6 minutes longer the Pirates 8-7, 18-inning victory over Houston on May 27, 2006, that took 5:49.

Villanueva also allowed Neil Walker’s game-ending home run in the Pirates’ 1-0 win Monday in the season opener.

Both teams scored in the 12th inning as the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo hit a leadoff home run and the Pirates’ Starling Marte had an RBI single with two outs off closer Jose Veras.

The Cubs ended a streak of 16 scoreless innings to start the season by scoring single runs in eighth and ninth inning to force extra innings.

Chicago’s Emilio Bonifacio went 5 for 7 and is hitting .750 (9 for 12). Luis Valbuena added three hits, including a two-out RBI single in the ninth inning off closer Jason Grilli that tied the game at 2-2 and forced extra innings.

Jordy Mercer opened the 16th with a bunt single but was forced out at second on Jose Tabata’s sacrifice attempt. Starling Marte followed with a singled to put runners on corners before Sanchez, the rookie catcher and last position player left on the Pirates’ bench, grounded into left field for the walkoff hit.

Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton pitched six scoreless inning but was denied the win when Grilli blew his first save opportunity of the season after converting 33 of 35 saves last year.

Cubs starter Edwin Jackson allowed two runs, one earned, and two hits in 5 1-3 innings in his first start since going 8-18 last season and leading the major leagues in losses.

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