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A day later, Bucs reflect on victory

Saturday's rally leaves impression

PITTSBURGH -- Jason Michaels said it was hard to sleep after his game-winning home run in the 10th inning of the Pirates' improbable 12-11 win over the Cardinals on Saturday night.

The Bucs trailed, 9-3, but mounted a furious comeback that started in the seventh. Michaels said the momentum and feeling in the dugout started to change once Jason Bay hit a two-run homer in the eighth to bring the Pirates to within four.

"There was a good feeling that something was going to happen," added Nate McLouth, who followed that feeling and hit a three-run home run in the ninth to make the score 10-9. Bay followed three batters later with his fifth RBI of the game to force the game into extra innings.

Michaels then launched Chris Perez's offering to the left-field bleachers to win it. The hit was the second devastating blast Michaels sent out against the Cardinals this season. On June 2, he connected on a grand slam in the Pirates' 5-4 win.

"That might be one of the best," McLouth said of Saturday night. "It was a game that we were getting pretty much dominated until the late innings. It was just a great one."

Doug Mientkiewicz, who was ejected in the fourth for arguing a call, was in the clubhouse as his teammates were making one of the more memorable comebacks in team history.

"Regular season-wise, that's as good as it gets," said Mientkiewicz, who was relaying messages from the clubhouse throughout. "That game felt like it was 30-to-nothing. This team finds a way to get the right people at the plate at the right time. No matter how bad we're getting beat ... we find a way to get the tying run to the plate.

"I don't think this team is ever dead. I think we can come back against anybody."

The last time the Pirates came back from a six-run deficit to win was July 3, 2005, at Milwaukee, where they trailed, 8-2, heading into the seventh to win, 11-10, in nine innings.

And according to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Pirates have produced only one other victory at home in the last 25 years in which they scored in the seventh, eighth, ninth and extra innings to win a game (June 21, 2003, vs. the Indians -- the Pirates won, 7-6).

The Pirates are now 10-3 this season in extra-inning games and have a 12-4 record in one-run games at PNC Park.

"We've been coming back a lot as far as I've been here," Michaels said. "These guys on this team just keep battling. Baseball's weird. You can explain it, but you can't. That's what makes the game so fun and so humble."

Todd Krise is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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