Scratched from the lineup before the game because of a stomach ailment, McCutchen walked as a pinch-hitter to start a ninth-inning rally and scored the winning run on Ronny Cedeno's single as the Pirates beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-3 in a matchup of two last-place teams Friday night.
The Pirates had lost seven of eight and avoided their ninth five-game losing streak of the season.
"I just woke up today and could barely get out of bed," said McCutchen, who was in the original posted lineup until about a half-hour before game time. "I just really wasn't having it. I don't know what it was. I had enough strength to show up to the field and tell (manager John Russell) what was wrong with me. Throughout the course of the day, I got better and better, and I went down and told (Russell) I was good to play in the fourth or fifth inning. I felt better, he gave me the OK, and I was able to kind of contribute."
"In that situation, it's my time," Cedeno said. "I want to get an RBI, get the win. For me, it was exciting because we didn't play real well on the road trip and it's kind of frustrating losing tight games like we did, but I think we fought and we competed. It's nice to get the game-winning RBI."
"Vasquez comes in, walks two guys, goes 2-0 on Cedeno? That's not a good formula," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said.
Ian Kennedy was impressive for a fourth consecutive start and Geraldo Parra had two RBI doubles for the Diamondbacks, who have lost 10 of 13.
Kennedy was in line for the win when he exited after allowing two runs (one earned) in six innings, but Doumit tied it with a solo homer, his 13th, off Blaine Boyer with one out in the seventh.
Kennedy has received three consecutive no-decisions -- all Arizona losses -- despite allowing only the one earned run over his past three starts.
"It's tough, but you could say I did my job to try to help the team win," Kennedy said. "It's just disappointing we lost as a team. Like I said (after his last start), it's a team game and a disappointing loss."
Evan Meek (5-4) retired the final two batters of the top of the ninth after entering the inning during a two-on, one-out jam.
Kennedy entered the game with a career-high 17-inning scoreless streak, also a team high this season. The third Pittsburgh batter of the game, Walker, ended that with a solo homer to right, his 11th.
He would allow only four more hits, including an RBI double by Tabata in the fifth. The Pirates' run was unearned because a passed ball by Miguel Montero allowed Cedeno to advance to second.
Pirates left-hander Brian Burres made his third consecutive strong start since joining the rotation after an injury to Jeff Karstens. He allowed three runs -- two earned -- and seven hits and no walks in seven innings.
Burres has allowed only six earned runs in four starts at PNC Park this season and has allowed four earned runs in 20 innings over his past three starts.
The Pirates won all three -- but only one of eight other games in that time span.
"I felt like I pitched pretty well today," Burres said. "I tried to keep us in the game, and I did that. It was just good to see the offense come through and get that win."
Diamondbacks ace RHP Brandon Webb will have another bullpen session Saturday as he attempts to rehabilitate from August shoulder surgery. ... Kennedy has a 1.25 ERA in seven career games (six starts) in September. ... Walker entered the game hitless in his past 15 at-bats, and fellow rookie Tabata was 0 for 13.