PITTSBURGH – – Gregory Polanco hit a two-run homer in a five-run first inning and the Pittsburgh Pirates nearly wasted a 10-run lead late in the inning before hanging on to beat the Cleveland Indians 11-10 , breaking a 10- consecutive losing streak.
Ke’Bryan Hayes netted a three-run brace that highlighted a five-run explosion in the sixth inning, giving the Pirates an 11-1 lead.
The Indians rallied by scoring six runs in the seventh inning and three runs in the eighth, reducing the deficit to one point.
Cesar Hernandez hit a grand slam against Sam Howard in the seventh inning, bringing the Indians down to 11-7. A two-run single from Rene Rivera and a late-inning midfielder Bryan Reynolds’ pitch error made it a one-run game.
Richard Rodriguez pitched a scoreless ninth inning, allowing a pair of singles, for his eighth save in 10 occasions. He called out rookie hitter Bobby Bradley with runners in the second and third to end the game.
“I think I drank like five bottles of water (at the end of the round). I was sweating, ”said Pirates manager Derek Shelton. “But I still feel comfortable with Richie on the mound in the ninth, no matter a one point lead, a four point lead, whatever lead he is going to close it.”
Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez, three-time Silver Slugger winner, left the game with a bruised left foot after being hit by a pitch in the eighth inning.
The Pirates’ enclosure nearly blew up the double-digit lead after starter Chad Kuhl (1-4) allowed a run in six innings.
“It’s good to have the win attributed to my name, but I just want to have an exit that gives us a chance to win,” said Kuhl. “What really matters is it’s 10 games, so ending (the losing streak) is a really good feeling, even if it wasn’t easy.”
Hernandez finished with three hits and five RBIs as the Indians lost for the second time in eight games. Rivera had three hits and three RBIs, and Eddie Rosario added two hits.
“We ask our guys to always keep playing and that was probably the ultimate example,” said Indians manager Terry Francona. “These are tough games to win, but we are sure to win the game. Just keep playing. Sometimes it’s ugly, sometimes we make mistakes but keep playing.
Reynolds scored for the Pirates and joined Adam Frazier with two hits.
The Pirates jumped on rookie starting pitcher JC Mejia (1-2) early with the big first inning. After the first point scored on a Groundout, Jacob Stallings hit a two-run double on the wall in the right center and Polanco followed with a drive into the right field stands.
Polanco had gone 4 for 20 on the Pirates’ six-game road trip.
“It was good, especially after a tough road trip,” Polanco said. “I hit that ball in the first inning and I’m like ‘Oh yeah.’ It felt good.
Staked in the lead early, Kuhl dispersed four hits with four strikeouts and one walk. He was helped by four double plays.
It was Kuhl’s first win since September 24, 2020. He failed to register a win in his first seven starts this year. In his last outing, Kuhl was scored for six runs in 3 1/3 innings in a loss to Milwaukee.
Mejia lasted a career-high five innings, allowing six runs and seven hits while striking out three.
Hayes, a rookie, has reached base in 23 straight games since last September.
Indians: Francona said Ramirez was feeling good by the time he arrived at the clubhouse. … Is seen on a day-to-day basis. … RHP Zach Plesac (broken right thumb) and C Roberto Perez (broken right ring finger) are due for review on Saturday by Pittsburgh hand specialist Dr Thomas Graham.
Pirates: 1B Colin Moran (back pain) returned to the starting lineup after limiting himself to just one appearance in a three-game series in Washington.
RHP Indians Cal Quantrill (0-2, 3.11) will start on Saturday against RHP Pirates Wil Crowe (0-4, 6.75). Quantrill will pitch on a short rest after allowing a run in four innings on Tuesday against Baltimore. Crowe recorded a career-high eight strikeouts in five innings in his last start, a decision without a decision against Milwaukee last Sunday.