Outfielder Polanco driving force for Pirates in victory over Dodgers
Gregory Polanco stood at the plate facing Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Jamey Wright in the sixth inning with the bases loaded, the count full, two outs, the score tied and the PNC Park crowd of 30,629 getting louder by the second Tuesday night.
Unfazed, Polanco drove the ball to left field. Russell Martin and Ike Davis scored, and the Pirates took the lead.
Combined with an earlier home run, it was a big night for the Pirates young right fielder, who has struggled to gain his footing during his second month in the big leagues but was crucial in a 12-7 win that evened the series.
“I was just trying to put the ball in play and just stay with my approach,” Polanco said. “I was trying not to do too much.”
Polanco hit a solo homer to right field in the third inning, adding to solo shots by Neil Walker and Davis off starter Josh Beckett in the second.
The Dodgers right-hander had just come off the disabled list. Pitching with a torn labrum and two cysts in his hip, he gave up four runs and was finished after 3 2⁄3 innings.
Vance Worley (3-1) surrendered just one earned run but four total.
Martin and Davis singled off left-hander Paul Maholm (1-5) to lead off the sixth. Wright replaced Maholm, and Josh Harrison moved his teammates into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt.
Jordy Mercer struck out, but Wright walked pinch hitter Gaby Sanchez to load the bases for Polanco, who sat out Monday's game and was hitless in his last 12 at-bats before the home run.
“It was a good night for him and a number of guys in the lineup,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “It was good to see. Some better passes at the ball, some better balance at the plate. It paid off for him.”
After Polanco's single, Travis Snider singled in another run. Wright hit Andrew McCutchen with a pitch, and Polanco scored on a wild pitch to make it 8-4.
The game got heated in the bottom of the seventh after lefty reliever Justin Wilson started the inning by hitting Justin Turner, the first batter he faced.
Turner took several steps toward the mound. Wilson got tossed. Hurdle went on the field to argue and, after an animated discussion, also was ejected.
“I think the umpire's job is to judge intent. There's a mound visit with McCutchen at the plate and a base open and the ball's thrown upper body, hits him in the back shoulder and there was no intent judged on that and he goes to first base,” Hurdle said. “Wilson's trying to pitch hard in. He always pitches hard in. They judged it was intentional and just threw him out.”
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly offered a different take.
“I think we all understand what happened there,” he said. “It was not a big deal. The only guy who didn't handle it was the home plate umpire. He could've let that go and given warnings, and it would've been over.”
Jared Hughes replaced Wilson and gave up a two-run homer to Adrian Gonzalez to make it 8-6.
The Dodgers cut the Pirates' lead to 8-7 in the eighth. Tony Watson gave up a pinch-hit home run to Scott Van Slyke.
Dodgers reliever Chris Perez walked four in a row to start the eighth. He was replaced by Brandon League, who gave up a two-run single to Martin and an RBI single to Davis.
Pedro Alvarez exited the game with left knee discomfort after doubling in the fourth inning. He was replaced at third by Harrison.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Alvarez latest in Pirates’ revolving door at first base
- Pirates pitchers finding success with expanded strike zone
- Pirates notebook: Polanco’s power outburst a matter of timing
- Starting 9: As franchise values soar, do owners hold or sell?
- Pirates notebook: Locke makes bid for final rotation spot, Tabata cut
- Reliever Caminero’s chances of making Pirates’ roster heating up
- MLB commissioner: Pirates’ success starts in the front office
- Spring training breakdown: Pirates 8, Blue Jays 3
- Pirates’ Harrison working to use 2014 success as building block
- Pirates notebook: Morton’s struggles continue during rough outing versus Astros
- Starting 9: Minor league options can lead to March roster madness