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Pirates Pirates rally in 11th, snatch victory in 12th

Wednesday, June 27, 2001

By Robert Dvorchak, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

Lloyd McClendon stole first base last night -- really -- after he was ejected for arguing an out call, but Aramis Ramirez’s home run stole the show and Rob Mackowiak ended it with a run-scoring single in the bottom of the 12th for a 7-6 Pirates victory last night at PNC Park.

Pirates Aramis Rameriz watches his two run homer in the 11th inning that tied the game 6-6 against the Brewers last night at PNC Park. (Peter Diana, Post-Gazette)

Just after Tyler Houston and Devon White hit consecutive home runs in the 11th inning off Mike Williams to give the Milwaukee Brewers a 6-4 lead, Ramirez drilled a two-out homer with Brian Giles on base to tie the score. Giles kept the Pirates alive with a two-out single, his 32nd multihit game of the season.

“I was looking for a home run, looking for something up,” said Ramirez, who got a high slider on a 2-0 count off loser Ray King and hit his 14th homer of the season.

In the 12th, Young -- who was 3 for 5 with 2 doubles, 3 RBIs and 2 runs scored -- led off with a double off the right-field wall. Derek Bell advanced the runner with a ground ball to the right side, which McClendon said might have been the most important at-bat of the night, and Mackowiak singled through the right side against a drawn-in infield.

“You dream of being in situations like that,” Mackowiak said.

Young said the dramatic comeback showed the fight the Pirates have and the fight McClendon shows.

“We love him. He’s going to fight for us. You look at our record and come to the conclusion that this team doesn’t have any fight, and that’s not the case. We’ll bite. We’ll claw. We’re going to give it our all.”

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Omar Olivares (3-7) was the winner after pitching an inning of scoreless relief.

McClendon had been tossed four innings earlier. The bit of pique came after McClendon was ejected for arguing with first-base umpire Rick Reed for the second time in the game.

Reed called Jason Kendall out, even though replays appeared to show Kendall beat the throw. First-base coach Tommy Sandt argued, just as he did in the first inning when Reed called out Abraham Nunez on a close play.

McClendon argued the first call and was livid at the second.

Whatever he said to Reed got him ejected for the second time this season, and he flung his cap in disgust. Then he walked over, lifted the bag and strode defiantly to the dugout, much to the delight of 24,120 fans. He angrily flung the base down the dugout steps.

“Obviously, I wasn’t thinking,” McClendon said. “[Reed] wasn’t seeing the calls at first base, so I figured I might as well take it with me.”

McClendon might get fine and suspended for his theatrics, but he wanted to make a point that the Pirates have not gotten many calls this year. “All I ask is that we get our fair shake. I think we’ve been taken for granted, and I’m tired of it.”

The Pirates built a 4-1 lead after four innings against Paul Rigdon, scoring four runs on three hits. Rigdon also issued four walks, one of which scored. The big blow was Young’s bases clearing double.

Although Young is hitting .131 on the road, he is batting .333 (31 for 93) with 13 RBI at PNC Park. He also is 7 for 15 in his past five games.

The home fans appreciated McClendon’s selection of souvenirs. (Peter Diana, Post-Gazette)

The Brewers came back to tie it in the sixth. Geoff Jenkins led off with a single, and on Richie Sexson’s dribbler in front of the plate, Kendall’s errant throw to first sailed over Young’s head, putting runners at first and third.

Jeromy Burnitz singled to right to drive in a run, but Bell threw out Sexson at third on a close play that brought Brewers Manager Davey Lopes out of the dugout.

That turned out to be a big play because Jose Hernandez followed with a homer to right, his 14th of the year, on a 2-1 pitch to tie the score, 4-4.

Both teams wasted numerous scoring opportunities.

The Pirates had runners at second and third with one out in the third. They loaded the bases with one out but failed to score in the fifth. And they had runners at first and second with one out in the eighth but came up empty. Between them, Nunez and Pat Meares were hitless in 12 at bats and stranded 16 runners.

In their eighth, the Brewers loaded the bases with one out off reliever Scott Sauerbeck on a single, double and intentional walk. Josias Manzanillo relieved and worked out of the jam with a forceout and a strike.

Manzanillo worked 2 2/3 innings and allowed just one hit.

“Manzy was probably the key for us to that point. He was extraordinary in a tough situation and shut them down,” McClendon said.

But the stolen base episode? The Pirates couldn’t help but laugh.

“I never saw anybody take first base,” Mackowiak said.

“It was funny,” said Williams. “If Ramirez hadn’t hit the home run and we wouldn’t have won, it would have still been funny. But he’s stuck by us all year. If we don’t win another game all year, he’ll back every guy in here. He’ll be the same on Sept. 30 as he is today.”

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