PITTSBURGH – Humberto Cota singled home the winning run in the 12th inning, and the Pittsburgh Pirates overcame Tony Clark’s two homers and five RBIs to end a 10-game home losing streak with an 8-7 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday.

The Pirates had lost 10 in a row at home for only the second time in their 119-season history and the first time since 1968. Their first victory in Pete Mackanin’s three games as interim manager also ended a six-game overall losing streak.

Pittsburgh was within two outs of losing following Clark’s second homer, a three-run go-ahead drive in the ninth, when Jason Bay hit a tying two-run shot – his 26th – in the bottom of the inning off Tim Worrell. Worrell blew his third save in four opportunities.

In the top of the inning, Jose Mesa blew his third consecutive save opportunity by giving up Clark’s 25th homer. Clark also hit a two-run drive in the first off Josh Fogg during his 17th career multihomer game.

After the Pirates couldn’t score with the bases loaded in the 11th, Rob Mackowiak singled off Buddy Groom (0-1), Arizona’s seventh pitcher, to start the 12th and moved up on Freddy Sanchez’s sacrifice bunt. Cota, who had doubled in a run in the eighth, then singled to center to give Pittsburgh its first home victory since Aug. 23.

The Pirates came back from deficits of 2-0, 4-3, and 7-5. Rick White (4-6) pitched a scoreless 12th for the victory.

Right-hander Dustin Nippert made his major-league debut for Arizona 14 months after having reconstructive elbow surgery, but couldn’t hold a 2-0 lead supplied by Clark’s first homer. Nippert, who had a Double-A Southern League-best 2.38 ERA at Tennessee before being promoted, allowed three runs and five hits in five innings.

Nippert had a chance for the win, which would have delighted the estimated 200 fans in attendance from his nearby hamlet of Beallsville, Ohio – almost half the village’s population of 443. He left with a 4-3 lead following Luis Terrero’s two-run homer in the sixth on the first pitch thrown by reliever Brian Meadows, but Craig Wilson tied it in the bottom of the inning by homering off reliever Greg Aquino.

Wilson’s homer was his second of the season and his first since May 3 during an injury-interrupted season in which he has twice spent long stretches on the disabled list with hand injuries. He had a team-high 29 homers last season.

Nippert had to persevere just to get to the majors. He and twin brother, Derik, also a pitcher in Arizona’s farm system, were involved in serious auto accident in 1999. Four years later, Nippert developed a large tumor on the back of his right shoulder, but it was found to be benign. He had the elbow operation last year.

Notes: Fogg has allowed 27 homers in 28 starts. He left after Chad Tracy singled off his right hand in the sixth. … Diamondbacks OF Luis Gonzalez was expected to miss a second consecutive game with flu-like symptoms, but entered in the ninth during a double switch. … Nippert has allowed only 10 homers in four pro seasons. … Nippert’s mother, a school aide, sold 100 tickets to the game herself. … It was the second 12-inning game between the teams in three days. The Diamondbacks won 4-2 Monday night.

AP-ES-09-08-05 1651EDT


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