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Gregory Polanco's 4-hit performance leads Pirates over Brewers

| Monday, July 17, 2017, 10:39 p.m.

One by one, Gregory Polanco listed the injuries that have bothered him this season.

"Hamstring, shoulder, the ankle, my knee. Everything," he said, smiling at his misfortune.

But Monday night, it was one body part for every hit he collected in the Pirates' 4-2 victory against the Milwaukee Brewers at PNC Park.

He was 4 for 4 (two doubles, two singles, two RBIs, two runs), with all the hits coming off left-handed pitchers.

"But now I feel good, I feel strong," he said. "I can give 100 percent every night."

Which is only part of what the Pirates (45-48) need to become relevant in the National League Central race. They have won eight of 11 to move within six games of the first-place Brewers (52-43).

The Pirates likely still need to win at least two of the remaining three games of this series to become legitimate challengers, but there is confidence in the locker room with former All-Star outfielder Starling Marte returning to the starting lineup Tuesday.

"I feel like we're in a good spot," said starting pitcher Chad Kuhl, who struck out a career-high seven in 52⁄3 innings. The Pirates are 5-0 against the Brewers this season when Kuhl starts. He left in a 2-2 tie after throwing 104 pitches, and the bullpen cleaned up, with Daniel Hudson (2-4) getting the victory and Felipe Rivero a four-out save, his seventh.

Polanco, who also threw out catcher Stephen Vogt at home plate in the sixth inning, is hitting .447 in 12 starts this month and .517 — with five doubles — against the Brewers this season. He scored the tying run in the fifth on Jordy Mercer's sacrifice fly and drove in Jose Osuna in the sixth with his second double to give the Pirates a 3-2 lead.

Polanco not only is showing off his power and strength, which manager Clint Hurdle likened somewhat to Dave Parker, Polanco also has showed the mental capacity to move on from mistakes. He recovered nicely from the embarrassing moment Friday against the St. Louis Cardinals when he was picked off third base.

"When it happened, it happened," he said. "After that, you can't do anything. You have to move forward and pay attention."

Hurdle said he has encouraged Polanco while challenging him.

"He had a very humbling game a couple days ago, actually, while he was playing his best ball of the year."You find the opportunity where you make sure he is aware that you really believe in him. However, they also have to respect the game, and you have to play the game hard."

The Pirates were in no position to offer charity to the Brewers, but that's what happened early in the game.

The Brewers scored their first run in the second inning after a wild pitch by Kuhl moved Travis Shaw to second base, and he scored on Orlando Arcia's single.

The second run might have been prevented, but first baseman Josh Bell's throw home in an attempt to nail Shaw in the third inning was high. No error was charged, but the Pirates were left to wonder if an accurate throw would have cut off the run.In the middle of those errant throws, Osuna was picked off first base by Brewers starter Brent Suter to end the second inning.

It was a rough outing for Kuhl, who walked three and hit a batter before striking out Jonathan Villar to end the Brewers' bases-loaded threat in the fourth. Kuhl also was thrown out at home plate in the fifth, knocking Vogt from the game with strains of his knee and neck.

Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at jdipaola@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates right fielder Gregory Polanco celebrates his RBI double next to the Brewers' Jonathan Villar during the sixth inning Monday, July 17, 2017, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates pitcher Chad Kuhl celebrates with Gregory Polanco after Polanco scored during the fifth inning against the Brewers Monday, July 17, 2017, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates left fielder Jose Osuna scores past Brewers catcher Stephen Vogt during the fifth inning Monday, July 17, 2017, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates first baseman Josh Bell scores past Brewers catcher Manny Pina during the sixth inning Monday, July 17, 2017, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates right fielder Gregory Polanco scores past Brewers catcher Stephen Vogt during the fifth inning Monday, July 17, 2017, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli pumps his fist after tagging out Brewers catcher Manny Pina during the sixth inning Monday, July 17, 2017, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli tags out Brewers catcher Manny Pina during the sixth inning Monday, July 17, 2017, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates right fielder Gregoruy Polanco scores past Brewers catcher Stephen Vogt during the fifth inning Monday, July 17, 2017, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
The Brewers' Travis Shaw scores past Pirates catcher during the fourth inning Monday, July 17, 2017, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates left fielder Jose Osuna scores past Brewers catcher Stephen Vogt during the fifth inning Monday, July 17, 2017, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates pitcher Chad Kuhl collides with Brewers catcher Stephen Vogt during the fifth inning Monday, July 17, 2017, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates left fielder Jose Osuna scores past Brewers catcher Stephen Vogt during the fifth inning Monday, July 17, 2017, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates pitcher Chad Kuhl collides with Brewers catcher Stephen Vogt during the fifth inning Monday, July 17, 2017, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates pitcher Chad Kuhl collides with Brewers catcher Stephen Vogt during the fifth inning Monday, July 17, 2017, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates pitcher Chad Kuhl and Brewers catcher Stephen Vogt are tended to by trainers after a collision at home plate during the fifth inning Monday, July 17, 2017, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison knocks down a ball hit by the Brewers' Travis Shaw during the second inning Monday, July 17, 2017, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
The Brewers' Travis Shaw scores past Pirates catcher during the fourth inning Monday, July 17, 2017, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
The Brewers' Ryan Braun tosses his bat after striking out during the first inning against the Pirates Monday, July 17, 2017, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli takes the field at the start of a game against the Brewers Monday, July 17, 2017, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates pitcher Chad Kuhl delivers during the first inning against the Brewers Monday, July 17, 2017, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates pitcher Chad Kuhl throws during the fourth inning against the Brewers Monday, July 17, 2017, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
The Brewers' Travis Shaw scores past Pirates catcher during the fourth inning Monday, July 17, 2017, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates pitcher Chad Kuhl and Brewers catcher Stephen Vogt lay on the ground after a collision at home plate during the fifth inning Monday, July 17, 2017, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates pitcher Chad Kuhl and Brewers catcher Stephen Vogt are tended to by trainers after a collision at home plate during the fifth inning Monday, July 17, 2017, at PNC Park.
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