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McDonald's late homer deadlocks the score

PHOENIX -- When looking back on Tuesday, the box score will say the D-backs lost a close game, 5-4, to the Pirates by giving up three consecutive singles with two outs in the ninth inning.

The team, on the other hand, will remember April 17 as the day it temporally lost two of its three starting outfielders to injury.

Prior to the game, right fielder Justin Upton left Chase Field to visit hand specialist Dr. Don Sheridan to have his thumb evaluated and was later diagnosed with a bone bruise. During the game, center fielder Chris Young slammed into the outfield wall while tracking down a fly ball and exited with a right shoulder contusion.

The fallout of both injuries has D-backs manager Kirk Gibson listing both as day to day, but the lasting effect of both injuries is still up in the air.

"We're going to have to play short and some guys are going to have to step up," Gibson said. "There are a lot of things that might happen, but it all happened very quickly for us. We'll have contingency plans the best we can do."

To add salt to the wound, D-backs reserve Geoff Blum pulled a side muscle in batting practice and will go on the disabled list while outfielder A.J. Pollock gets called up from Triple-A Reno.

"When one of your teammates goes down, the outcome of the game is very small in comparison," D-backs shortstop John McDonald said. "But when guys go down, the other guys step in. I think whoever gets called on will fit right in."

When Young first collided with the wall, he thought he only got the breath knocked out of him. But as the initial shock wore off, his shoulder began hurting.

"As I was laying there, I realized my shoulder was hurting and [Jason] Kubel called the [trainers] out there," said Young, whose X-rays were negative and who will undergo an MRI Wednesday. "I tried to move it around, but it stayed tight on me, so I came out."

Tuesday's loss left the D-backs with all four of their defeats coming by one run.

"We had opportunities to win that game, we just didn't execute," Gibson said. "They did a good job and beat us."

For the second consecutive night, the Pirates jumped on the D-backs early. After Kennedy retired the first two batters in the first inning, Pittsburgh singled three straight times to take a 1-0 lead.

The D-backs' first at-bat started just as innocuous, but ended with a bang.

After two quick outs, Young doubled down the left-field line to begin the rally. Miguel Montero then brought home the tying run with a single to left and Kubel doubled off the center-field wall to drive in Montero from first.

The two first-inning runs marked the eighth time in 11 games the D-backs have scored in their first at-bat.

The Pirates lifted starter Jeff Karstens after just one inning due to inflammation in his right shoulder.

The first man out of the Pittsburgh bullpen, Jared Hughes, also allowed a two-out run to score in his first frame when Willie Bloomquist doubled to right field to score Aaron Hill and put the D-backs up, 3-1.

Kennedy appeared to find his groove in retiring five straight batters in the second and third frames, but after Andrew McCutchen blooped a single with two outs, things began to unravel again.

A balk Kennedy visibly disagreed with let McCutchen advance to second, then Neil Walker singled to center and Garrett Jones tied the game with a double to left.

"I had to step off, but I have no excuse to give up more runs after that," Kennedy said. "They did a good job of getting their two-out rallies, which is disappointing for me."

In the sixth inning, Pittsburgh touched up Kennedy one last time, thanks to Jones' leadoff homer into the pool pavilion to give his team a 4-3 advantage. The D-backs' starter retired the next three batters and finished his night having allowed four runs on eight hits through six innings.

After McDonald, who entered the game after Young's fourth-inning injury, homered to left field in the eighth to tie the game, Bryan Shaw allowed the Pirates to mount another two-out rally and score the game-winning run on a McCutchen single.

The Pirates' three, four and five hitters batted a combined 10-for-14 on Monday with four runs scored and five RBIs.

"It was an all-around team effort," McCutchen said. "To be able to do what we did, with the guy they had on the mound, their ace. With all the unexpected things that happened, this was the type of game where you really find out what kind of a club you are." Comments