ALTOONA, Pa.–We always try to take you as inside the game as we possibly can at Baseball America, but this time we’re going to try something a little different . . . you know, with the blog and all.
We’d like to take you inside Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen’s head as he led Double-A Altoona to a walk-off, 8-7 win against Harrisburg on Sunday.
With the score tied 7-7, McCutchen led off the bottom of the ninth with a double to right center. And he takes us through that at-bat . . . with the extra-base hit coming on a 1-0 count against Senators’ 27-year-old lefthanded Gerald Plexico.
“I pretty much knew the pitcher was going to stay away on me. So I had to get that mindset to go to right field exclusively and make the adjustment if I had to on the inside pitch.
“So on the first one, the ball was a little up, but I still had the mindset to go to right field. After that one I heard (hitting coach Brandon Moore) say to pick a side, meaning either go to left field or right, so I picked right field just because of the way Iâ€™ve been pitched this year so far. So thatâ€™s where I stayed at and thatâ€™s where he stayed at also, so I just stayed there and hen pitched outside and I just went with it.”
After Adam Boeve reached on an error by Harrisburg shortstop Seth Bynum–and McCutchen moved up to third base, Brett Roneberg hit a slow roller about 12 feet to the right side of home plate. Plexico fielded his position well, but McCutchen, however, took off and didn’t stop until he was being high-fived by his teammates after scoring the winning run.
“When I got to third base, my coach (Tim Lieper) said ‘Anything on the ground, you go.’ ” McCutchen said. “We wanted to avoid the double play and Roneberg had two strikes, so when he swung I saw it hit the ground and I just took offâ€”I just put my head down and just slid into home. I didnâ€™t know where the play was or where it ended up but I just put my head down and ran as hard as I could.”
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