PITTSBURGH — Gregory Polanco hit a two-run homer in a five-run first inning and the Pittsburgh Pirates nearly squandered a 10-run lead before holding on to beat the Cleveland Indians 11-10, snapping a 10-game losing streak.
Ke'Bryan Hayes hit a three-run double to highlight a five-run sixth inning and the Pirates (24-44) seemingly had the game in hand 11-1. The Indians (38-29) rallied with six runs in the seventh inning and three runs in the eighth, cutting the deficit to a run.
The Pirates bullpen nearly blew the double-digit lead after winning pitcher Chad Kuhl allowed just one run in six innings. By contrast, Tribe starter Jean Carlos Mejia allowed six runs over five frames, and Kyle Nelson surrendered five while recording only two outs in the sixth.
Down 10 heading into the seventh, Cleveland finally erupted for six of its own, capped off by a Cesar Hernandez grand slam to cut the deficit to 11-7. René Rivera drove in two in the eight to make it 11-9, and the gap was down to one after Bradley Zimmer scampered home on a throwing error.
Facing Bucs closer Richard Rodríguez in the ninth, Amed Rosario and Ernie Clement both singled and later advanced into scoring position on a deep Eddie Rosario flyout to center field. A base hit could've given the Tribe the lead, but Bobby Bradley struck out swinging to end it.
In more bad news for the Indians, José Ramírez was forced to leave the game in the eight after being hit in the left foot with a pitch. The star third baseman was diagnosed with a bruise, but manager Terry Francona says he was "doing okay" once he got to the clubhouse.
The loss snaps Cleveland's four-game winning streak, but they remain 3 1/2 behind the Chicago White Sox for first place in the American League Central division. Cal Quantrill (0-2, 3.11 ERA) will start for them on short rest Saturday afternoon against Pittsburgh's Wil Crowe (0-4, 6.75).