PITTSBURGH -- Those pink bats, both novelties and reminders of an important cause, became scarce as Sunday's 12-inning marathon at PNC Park progressed.
As Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen explained, "It's a very special gesture, and holds great symbolism for us. But when you get into those clutch late-game situations, you want something you're more comfortable with."
Thus, by the time the 12th inning rolled around, the starters had long ago tucked the pink ones in the bat rack.
But Clint Barmes hadn't started the game. He hadn't even stepped into the batter's box until the 12th inning. So wouldn't you know it? Barmes was one of the few players still gripping a pink bat, and he used his to lift a double to left field, a few minutes before scoring on Josh Harrison's single that gave the Pirates a 3-2 victory over Houston.
"I'm still on cloud nine. Very exciting," said Harrison, whose mom, Juanita, was sitting in the stands, making one of her frequent visits from the family's home in Cincinnati.
"Obviously this is always a big day, for all the good we can do for mothers everywhere," Barmes said. "It's a nice gesture, and even nicer when we can add some excitement like this to the end of the day."
Before tabling his pink bat, McCutchen had put it to good use, singling with it to drive in a first-inning run.
"It's always cool to get a hit that scores a run," he said. "Even cooler when you get it with the pink bat. Overall, a good Mother's Day."