Livan Hernandez’s day is done,and he accomplished exactly what manager Davey Johnson needed the wily veteran to do: gutted through seven innings on a hot and humid day when an early exit could have thrown an already undermanned bullpen into shambles in the first game of a doubleheader.
Rick Ankiel pinch hit for Hernandez with one down in the bottom of the seventh, ending the right-hander’s afternoon. Hernandez allowed two runs - both in the first inning - on six hits, walked two and fanned six.
Hernandez threw only 98 pitches - I saw only because he’ll throw more than that in pregame warmups sometimes, and hot weather has never really bothered the native Cuban - and thanks to Ankiel is off the hook for a loss. He’ll get a no-decision.
Ankiel worked James McDonald to a full count before depositing a curveball into the stands in right-center for a game-tying pinch-hit home run. It’s Ankiel’s second homer of the year and the fourth pinch homer of his career.
Update: McDonald departed after walking Roger Bernadina, but the Pirates got out of the inning on a double play helped along by some bad baserunning. With Jayson Werth batting, Bernadina took off for second on a 1-1 pitch that Werth lined into left field, where Alex Presley made an easy catch. But Bernadina kept running and was already at third base when the grab was made, making him a dead duck in a weird 7-6-4 twin killing.
Sean Burnett is on to pitch and he’s just allowed a solo homer to center by Garrett Jones, so the Pirates have quickly retaken a 3-2 lead.
Make that 4-2. Andrew McCutchen has just followed Jones’ blast with one of his own, his 12th homer of the year.