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SF@PIT: Video review awards Pirates wild walk-off win

PITTSBURGH -- On further review ... the Pirates on Tuesday night celebrated the first jump-off triumph in their history.

Their 2-1 victory over the Giants in PNC Park seemed already delayed, considering how difficult they have found it to come by early-season wins.

So another minute, 14 seconds -- the time it took for replay review to reverse a call at the plate that would have sent the game into extra innings -- certainly didn't matter.

Or, did it?

"We just had to wait it out. What else could we do? Wanted to make it more exciting," said Starling Marte, whose frenetic tour of the bases ended in front of a bank of big-screen televisions in New York, and the Pirates became the first team to win on a walk-off review decision.

With the Bucs and the Giants in a ninth-inning deadlock, Marte hit a two-out drive off Tim Hudson and high off The Clemente Wall in right field. When the relay throw from second baseman Ehire Adrianza skipped through third baseman Pablo Sandoval, Marte jumped to his feet to race home -- without knowing where the ball was but hearing third-base coach Nick Leyva's urging.

"I didn't see the ball. I was just trying to take another base," Marte said.

Home-plate umpire Quinn Wolcott ruled catcher Buster Posey slapped a timely tag on Marte. However, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle challenged the call.

"I thought he was safe," said Hurdle, "then got the thumbs up [from bench coach Jeff Banister], so went ahead and asked for the look."

While umpires consulted with the Replay Operations Center in New York, replays of the play on the PNC Park video board elicited loud cheers from the stands.

San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy saw the same images, and wasn't sure.

"I couldn't really tell on the scoreboard," Bochy said. "I couldn't see it that well, but obviously they thought it was conclusive enough. You're at the mercy of whether or not they consider it conclusive, and they did."

When crew chief Gerry Davis removed his headset and spread his arms to indicate the reversal of the call, and a victory for the Bucs, the crowd really let loose.

As did Pirates players congregated in front of their third-base dugout.

"I was safe," said Marte, adding that he felt his hand slide across the plate before feeling Posey's mitt.

"Honest opinion ... I mean, it's really close," Posey said. "I feel like most of the plays I've seen that could go either way they usually stay with the call on the field. I don't know if they saw a different angle than we had. I think the best shot is the one coming from behind me and you can see his hand and my glove, and to me, it's a little bit inconclusive whether my hand is on his chest before it hits the plate. That's just what I saw."

"I love the aggressiveness on that play," said Hurdle, who may have loved it in any event, but certainly more for giving his club some life.

The Bucs haven't yet excelled in many things this season, but walking off is one of them. Of their total of nine home wins, four have come in walk-off style.

The dramatic end concluded a tense pitchers' duel, for most of the night between Charlie Morton and Hudson.

The Pirates' Mr. Nasty showed up Tuesday. But Hudson was even nastier and for longer.

Neil Walker calls Morton "just about the nastiest pitcher in the National League when he is on," and Morton certainly brought his "A" game, silencing the Giants on three hits, or 17 fewer than they'd had the night before.

"Eight fantastic innings," Hurdle said. "The sequences to the top of the order were about as good as I've ever seen."

Hurdle alluded to the first four in the San Francisco batting order. Angel Pagan, Hunter Pence, Posey and Michael Morse had combined to go 11-for-22 and score nine runs Monday. On Tuesday, Morton collared them, 1-for-16.

Hudson, however, was doing the same job on the Pirates. Ultimately, it wasn't enough to keep the Bucs down.

But it was enough to send Morton off with another "Hang with 'em."

For despite the brilliance, he remained winless for a 12th straight start, dating back to early last September. Which means the Pittsburgh rotation also remained stuck on a composite 3-15 record which, in a season 33 games old, is beginning to take on urban myth status.

However, Tony Watson, the reliever who picked up Tuesday's victory after holding the Giants down in the ninth, has three wins.

Morton allowed three hits and one unearned run in his eight innings, striking out three, walking two and also hitting two.

When Morton walked off the mound after retiring the order in the eighth, he received something not heard or seen by a pitcher for a very long time at PNC Park. The crowd of 18,881, aware that his spot was leading off the bottom of the inning and would go to a pinch-hitter, accorded him a standing ovation.

Catcher Tony Sanchez's throwing error on a second-inning steal of second by Brandon Belt gave the Giants the first run of the game, scored on a sacrifice fly by Adrianza. The run was unearned, a familiar development for Morton, whose sinkers always agitate infielders.

That was already the sixth unearned run on the 2014 ledger of Morton, who endured nine of them all last season and has a disproportionate career total of 45 in 115 starts.

Also familiar: After the Bucs tied it in the bottom of the second, Sanchez's infield dribbler scoring Ike Davis from third base, Morton hung a zero in the third. It was his 11th shutdown inning -- following scores by that pitcher's team -- of the season, and the ninth time he converted.

Morton would have loved a chance at another shutdown inning, but it never came.

They certainly were not going to get any help from Hudson, who was making his first start in May after ending April with the most precision in Major League history, at least among pitchers to work at least 45 innings.

His 15.5 strikeout-to-walk ratio (31 to 2) wasn't only the all time pre-May best, it lapped No. 2; Jim Merritt posted an 8.67 (26-3) with the 1970 Reds.

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