Ke’Bryan Hayes and Gregory Polanco lead the Pirates past Cleveland

PITTSBURGH (AP) – Gregory Polanco hit a two-run homer in a five-run first inning and Pittsburgh nearly lost a 10-point lead late in the inning before hanging on to beat Cleveland 11-10, breaking a streak of 10 consecutive losses.

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.

Cleveland rallied by scoring six runs in the seventh inning and three in the eighth, reducing the deficit to one point.

After:Cleveland Baseball Calendar June 18-23, 2021

Pittsburgh's Gregory Polanco celebrates after hitting a two-run home run against Cleveland pitcher Jean Carlos Mejia in the first inning in Pittsburgh on Friday, June 18, 2021. (AP Photo / Gene J. Puskar)

Cesar Hernandez hit a grand slam against Sam Howard in the seventh, shooting Cleveland to 11-7. A two-run single from Rene Rivera and a pitch error by center fielder Bryan Reynolds an inning later made it a one-run game.

Richard Rodriguez threw a scoreless ninth, 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.

Three-time Silver Slugger winner Cleveland third baseman Jose Ramirez left the game after being hit in the left foot by a throw in the eighth.

The Pirates’ enclosure nearly blew the double-digit lead after starter Chad Kuhl (1-4) allowed a run in six innings.

Cleveland's Cesar Hernandez hits a grand slam against Pittsburgh relief pitcher Sam Howard in the seventh inning in Pittsburgh on Friday, June 18, 2021 (AP Photo / Gene J. Puskar)

Hernandez finished with three hits and five RBIs as Cleveland lost only the second time in eight games. Rivera had three hits and three RBIs, and Eddie Rosario added two hits.

After:Cleveland defeats Baltimore for 19th consecutive road loss

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.

Pittsburgh's Gregory Polanco, left, celebrates with Jacob Stallings scoring on his two-run homerun against Cleveland pitcher Jean Carlos Mejia in the first inning in Pittsburgh on Friday, June 18, 2021 (AP Photo / Gene J. Puskar)

In the lead at the start, 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.

TRAINERS ‘ROOM

Cleveland: 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.

Pittsburgh: 1B Colin Moran (back pain) returned to the starting lineup after being limited to just one appearance in a three-game streak in Washington.

FOLLOWING

RHP Cal Quantrill (0-2, 3.11) starts on Saturday for Cleveland against RHP Wil Crowe (0-4, 6.75) of Pittsburgh. Quantrill will pitch on a short rest after allowing a run in four innings on Tuesday against Baltimore. Crowe clocked a career-high eight strikeouts in five innings in his last start, a decision without a decision against Milwaukee last Sunday.

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