Pirates rout 1st-place Brewers
Who needs Gregory Polanco? Not the Pirates. Well at least not Friday in a Pirates' 15-5 rout of the first-place Brewers.
Polanco did not have a locker in the Pirates' clubhouse Friday. He was not to be found in right field at PNC Park after several reports earlier this week had the club's top prospect arriving for the series opener against the Brewers. The Pirates' future right fielder was still in Indianapolis on Friday, where he led off the Triple-A game with a home run.
The Pirates likely will soon make room for Polanco, who projects as a five-tool impact player. But they did not need him in producing their biggest inning of the season, an eight-run sixth inning Friday, taking out frustration against Milwaukee (36-26), which entered having won eight of 10 games against the Pirates (29-31) this season.
The Brewers' record against the Pirates in large part explains the six-game gap between the teams in the standings.
In the sixth, Russell Martin, Pedro Alvarez and Jose Tabata began the inning with three straight singles as part of a 16-hit effort. Tabata's hit scored Martin and knocked Brewers starter Kyle Lohse from the game. Lohse was replaced by Tyler Thornburg.
Jordy Mercer, who homered in the fifth, singled to score Alvarez. Travis Snider walked to load the bases, and Josh Harrison followed with a walk to force in Tabata and give the Pirates an 8-3 lead. After Neil Walker and Andrew McCutchen struck out, Ike Davis walked to score Mercer. Martin followed with a bases-clearing double to give the Pirates a 12-3 lead. Alvarez walked, and Tabata singled to push the Pirates' lead to 13-3.
“You're having fun, and you want to join the party,” Mercer said. “A night like tonight was a lot of fun.”
In one inning of relief, Thornburg allowed five runs, three hits and four walks.
“We were able to barrel some balls up and took some walks,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “It was just a good inning. It was the best we've had all year.”
Harrison continued his one-man crusade to stall Polanco's arrival. The Pirates' right fielder began the game with a single to extend his hitting streak to nine games, during which he is hitting .421. He scored on a McCutchen double for the game's first run. In the bottom of the second, he made a sliding catch to rob Carlos Gomez of a hit, and he scored his second run of the game in the sixth.
While the Polanco watch continues, it is starting pitching that remains the Pirates' big question.
Coming off an awful outing in Los Angeles, in which he allowed 11 runs in 32⁄3 innings, Brandon Cumpton was better.
In making his third straight start since replacing Wandy Rodriguez in the rotation, Cumpton began with three scoreless innings but was knocked out of the game in the sixth. He allowed 10 baserunners, eight hits and two walks over 51⁄3 innings. Cumpton was charged with three runs.
Said Cumpton: “I just put my head down and kept going to work.”
Cumpton cruised until the fourth, when he allowed a single to Jonathan Lucroy, and Gomez followed by crushing a double off the right-center wall. Gomez later scored on a Khris Davis sacrifice fly to cut the Pirates' lead to 3-2 after three innings.
In the sixth, a Davis single reduced the Pirates' lead to 5-3. Cumpton was pulled for reliever Justin Wilson.
While Cumpton's fastball has added velocity, he lacks a dominant breaking ball and throws his changeup sparingly making him susceptible to trouble the second and third time through a lineup. Cumpton's ERA rests at 6.51 through five starts this season.
“He used his fastball to both sides of the plate,” Hurdle said. “His aggressive nature returned.”
Travis Sawchik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @Sawchik_Trib.
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.
- Reports include ‘aliens’ as origin of Russian holes
- Starkey: Would one big move kill Pirates’ future?
- Pirates inquire about Red Sox LHP Lester
- Chevron puts Moon HQ plans on hold
- Albert Gallatin bus driver pleads guilty to sexual assault
- Adelphoi resident charged as adult in Latrobe assault
- UPMC wants lawsuit tossed in Shick case
- Surgeon general echoes warnings about skin cancer
- Pennsylvania sued by U.S. over police fitness tests
- Police: Westmoreland women stole thousands to pay for dog show hobby
- Former walk-ons may lose scholarships under Penn State’s Franklin