Zack Greinke, Shelby Miller and Patrick Corbin -- the club's top three starters, all of whom are scheduled to pitch the first three games of the series against the Cardinals that starts Monday -- were forced into action in the 12th and 13th innings. A depleted bench and the ejection of shortstop Nick Ahmed, who was run for arguing balls and strikes in the bottom of the 12th inning with Jake Lamb at first base, set the stage for the unusual collection of pitcher appearances.
"Patrick, Shelby and Zack are all really good athletes, and they can handle it," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "If Robbie was available, him, too. We don't discriminate on that. They can all do that."
Greinke was on deck due to pinch-hit for reliever Tyler Clippard when Ahmed was ejected in the 12th. The former Silver Slugger Award winner proceeded to single on a sharp ground ball to third baseman David Freese. Miller then entered as a pinch-runner for Greinke on first base, and all Miller did was advance to third base on a double by outfielder David Peralta, and then tie the game at 10 when he sprinted home on a single by second baseman Jean Segura.
Then speculation became reality.
With the score tied at 10, Miller stayed in the game in left field to start the top of the 13th, Segura shifted to shortstop, Brandon Drury moved from right field to second base and Yasmany Tomas moved from left field to right field. Reliever Evan Marshall replaced Clippard on the mound.
Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison led off the frame with double to right field, and he would eventually score the deciding run on a double to left field by the next batter, Sean Rodriguez. Miller, who has been plagued with mechanical issues in his last two starts, actually made a nice play off the wall on Rodriguez's ball and tried to throw him out at second base.
Coincidentally, it was another pitcher, this time Pirates hurler Jonathon Niese, who pitched in with an RBI pinch-hit single to Miller in left to give Pittsburgh a two-run cushion.
Pirates reliever Arquimedes Caminero struck out Corbin, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter for Marshall, with one out in the 13th. Caminero then struck out an overmatched Miller to end the game.
"Obviously, I didn't want to get thrown out there, especially with a thin bench," Ahmed said. "I didn't say anything that I felt would have warranted getting thrown out of the game, but I guess [home-plate umpire Marvin Hudson] felt differently."
Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.