New Pirates sensation Gregory Polanco’s fifth hit of Friday evening was a two-run home run in the top of the thirteenth inning which led the Pittsburgh Pirates to an 8-6 victory over the Marlins (34-32) in Miami.
Polanco, leading off and playing right field, went 5-for-7 and scored three times. He is batting .381 through his first four Major League games. The go-ahead slam was Polanco’s first big league homer, and his first extra-base hit. The last Pirates rookie with five hits in one game was Neil Walker.
The Bucs, who had lost their last eleven games played on Friday the 13th, may have thought the string was continuing as they took a 6-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning only to surrender six walks and a two-run single, and saw the Marlins tie the score and force extra innings. After the Pirates (33-34) used three pitchers in the disastrous ninth frame, Jeanmar Gomez (1-2; 3.65 ERA) worked four scoreless innings of relief and earned the win. Polanco’s homer made a losing hurler out of Miami’s Mike Dunn (5-4; 4.15 ERA).
Starter Jeff Locke had worked eight efficient innings for the Pirates, allowing two runs and seven hits with seven strikeouts and no walks. Locke did give up a solo home run in the third inning to Giancarlo Stanton, the Marlin’s right fielder’s Major League-leading 18th of the year. Stanton tallied three of Miami’s nine hits, and is now batting .305.
Polanco’s performance overshadowed a four-hit night by Starling Marte, the Pittsburgh left fielder’s fifth consecutive multi-hit game. Marte slammed a two-run homer and scored three times. Andrew McCutchen (.320), Ike Davis and Clint Barmes each recorded two of the Bucs’ 17 hits. Barmes, who entered the game in the late innings as a replacement at second base, led off the 13th inning with a single, allowing Gomez to remain in the game. Gomez laid down a sacrifice bunt, moving Barmes to second base and setting the stage for the Polanco heroics.
With Milwaukee dropping a 6-5 decision to the Cincinnati Reds, the Pirates have moved to within 6-and-a-half games of the first-place Brewers in the National League Central Division. The second of three games in Miami will be played at 4:10 PM on Saturday. The Bucs will start Charlie Morton (3-7; 3.14 ERA) against the Marlins’ Randy Wolf (1-2; 4.15 ERA).