Marte, Polanco go back-to-back as Pirates sweep doubleheader
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Once wasn’t enough for Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco. They hit back-to-back home runs for the second time Saturday, and the Pittsburgh Pirates won the second game of a doubleheader 6-2 over the Milwaukee Brewers.
With the Pirates leading 3-0 in the eighth, Marte hit his 13th homer over the left-field wall before Polanco hit his 16th to right-center to make it 5-0. They also hit consecutive home runs in the first inning of the Pirates’ 2-1 win earlier Saturday.
According to STATS LLC, Marte and Polanco are the third duo in MLB history — and second from the Pirates — to go back-to-back in both games of a doubleheader. They were the first though to do it in their home ballpark. Pittsburgh’s Frank Thomas and Dick Groat did it in a July 7, 1957, sweep against the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds. Oakland’s Sal Bando and Reggie Jackson were the next on July 7, 1968, at Detroit.
“Just doing me,” Polanco said. “Be ready to hit, because we are aggressive hitters. Just seeing the ball and hitting it. Not thinking too much.”
Marte, who extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a ground-rule double in the sixth, applauded while jogging outside of Pittsburgh’s dugout as Polanco rounded the bases.
“As soon as he hit the ball, I knew it was a homer,” Marte said. “So, I was happy and running to the front of the dugout.”
With one out in the first in the opener, Marte sent an 0-1 pitch from Chase Anderson (6-7) to center to put the Pirates ahead 1-0. Polanco then drove Anderson’s 3-2 offering over the wall in right.
Polanco’s 16 home runs are the most by a Pirates’ right fielder prior to the All-Star break since Bobby Bonilla also had 16 in 1990.
The Pirates have won the first four games of their five-game series against the Brewers. Their five-game overall winning streak ties a season high, which happened on two previous occasions.
Richard Rodriguez (2-2) got the win in the first game, retiring all four batters he faced in relief of starter Ivan Nova.
HOLMES SOLID IN NIGHTCAP
In his second major league start, Clay Holmes (1-1) allowed no runs on four hits with six strikeouts and two walks for his first win. The rookie right-hander lasted 2 1/3 innings in his previous start, when he surrendered four runs on five hits in a 6-4 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 4.
“It was nice to be back out there, be on the mound and be able to make some pitches early,” Holmes said. “That kind of helped me settle down and get into a groove. Once I started getting into a groove, things started coming together and rolling. I started attacking the zone and the results came.”
Pittsburgh had two other players’ homer in the nightcap. Max Moroff opened the scoring with a solo shot off Brent Suter (8-6) in the third inning. Jordan Luplow homered in the sixth and eighth.
Brent Suter, who returned from the 10-day disabled list (left forearm tightness), went five innings for Milwaukee, allowing one run on two hits with three strikeouts and one walk.
“I felt good,” said Suter, who is 8-6 on the season. “Fastball command maybe wasn’t as great as I would want it to be, but off-speed felt fine out of the hand. I felt healthy.”
Tyler Glasnow walked the bases loaded with one out in the eighth before Michael Feliz got Tyler Saladino to fly out and Villar to strike out.
Jesus Aguilar singled off Feliz with the bases loaded in the ninth to cut the lead to 6-2 before Felipe Vazquez came in to get the final out with a strikeout on three pitches. That was his second save of the day and 23rd of the season.
“We’re not scoring runs,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “We just didn’t get any hits with men in scoring position. We had a few opportunities, actually. We hit a bunch of singles today. We had singles and walks today. ... Every offense needs extra-base hits, some kind of extra-base hits, to produce the runs. We got two extra-base hits in two games.”
Brewers: OF Eric Thames (right hamstring tightness) and RHP Junior Guerra (right forearm) were placed on the 10-day disabled list. Thames sustained his injury while tracking a ball hit to right field in the second inning Friday.
Pirates: C Francisco Cervelli was placed on the seven-day disabled list with post-concussive symptoms. C Jacob Stallings, who started the second game and hit seventh, was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis to replace him on the 25-man roster.
Brewers: RHP Jhoulys Chacin (8-3, 3.78) will look to win a third straight start. In his last start against Miami on July 10, he allowed four runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings in an 8-3 win.
Pirates: RHP Joe Musgrove (3-4, 3.77) will attempt to carry momentum from his previous two starts. He has surrendered a combined two runs on 12 hits in 12 innings pitched during that span.
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