PITTSBURGH -- When Charlie Morton came off the disabled list at the end of May, Vance Worley knew his role would change. But the veteran right-hander did not know that he would go from starting games to stopping them -- very literally.
"He's our walk-off guy," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Worley, who has thrown one pitch during the month of June.
Atlanta's Christian Bethancourt turned that one pitch on June 6 into a home run to give the Braves a 5-4 win.
Since, Worley has earnestly warmed up twice, preparing to enter games: In the bottom of the 13th of Friday's game, and in the bottom of the 11th of Sunday's game. Correct: The Pirates sealed walk-off wins over the Phillies in both of those extra innings.
"He's been the guy sweating more than anyone when we're in here shaking hands -- and he didn't even play in the game," Hurdle said. "He's warmed up, gotten hot, two of the last three games. With the position he's in, it's the best we can do right now. But he's pitching-ready."
Worley flashed a somewhat forced grin and said, "Winning's what it's all about. And the way everyone has thrown, that's nothing but a good thing. But, yeah, it's kinda tough, weird."
Before the Bethancourt homer, Worley had made three spotless relief appearances, compiling eight shutout innings on a yield of only six hits, with no walks and five strikeouts.