Bell homers twice to lead Pirates past Diamondbacks 6-2
PHOENIX (AP) — Josh Bell is on the best hitting streak of his career, and the Pittsburgh Pirates are along for the ride.
Bell homered twice and Joe Musgrove allowed one hit through seven strong innings as the Pirates beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-2 Tuesday night.
Phoenix native Cole Tucker hit a two-run homer in the top of the eighth inning to cap off the victory. The 22-year-old rookie gleefully circled the bases in front of a large gathering of family and friends, and received a hearty welcome from his teammates in the dugout.
The Pirates snapped a nine-game losing streak to the Diamondbacks that dated to last season. Pittsburgh has won four of its last five.
Bell is on a career-best 14-game hitting streak, and is batting .421 over that span with seven doubles, six home runs and 21 runs batted in, including the four he picked up Tuesday.
“Just trying to sync up fastballs, get on a starter’s fastball and understanding how guys are going to attack me and sell out to an approach and just go from there,” Bell said. “It feels like I’m living in a dream a little bit.”
Carson Kelly homered with two outs in the eighth and Adam Jones drove in David Peralta in the ninth to account for the Diamondbacks’ runs.
Starling Marte scored the game’s first run in the top of the third, hustling home from third base on Bell’s fielder’s choice. Bell’s fourth-inning homer to straightaway center off Arizona starter Luke Weaver came with two out and Gregory Polanco on base.
The only hit Musgrove (2-4) allowed was a fourth-inning single to Eduardo Escobar. He struck out five and walked two after allowing 13 total earned runs in his previous two starts.
“We’ve lost a lot of games to these guys consecutively, so it feels good to be the guy to come in and put a stop to that,” Musgrove said. “The bounce-back outings are really important.”
Bell had his second multi-home run game in 10 days. His second homer landed high up in the seats in right field and came on the first pitch of the eighth inning by Diamondbacks reliever Zack Godley.
Bell raised his season home run total to a team-best 12.
Tucker’s second home run of the season was a two-run shot off Godley that just cleared the fence in right field. In between innings, the Pirates’ position players stayed in the dugout briefly to let Tucker run out to shortstop by himself while the crowd behind the Pittsburgh dugout cheered.
Melky Cabrera had three hits for the Pirates, and is 28 for 63 with a.444 average in 15 career games at Chase Field. Marte added a pair of doubles.
“Just a fun night for the Buccos,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “Bell is just mauling the ball.”
Diamondbacks starter Luke Weaver (3-2) allowed three runs on seven hits in six innings. Arizona has lost four of five.
“We couldn’t get anything going offensively,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “Their starting pitcher was effective with early count pitches and kind of beating us to the spot.”
Tucker was still giddy in the visiting clubhouse after the game about his home run at the ballpark he grew up going to for Diamondbacks games.
“It was nuts, man. I couldn’t even play it cool. I tried to, but the 12-year-old in me came out and I was just smiling and cheesing and laughing,” Tucker said. “Literally audibly laughing. I couldn’t have drawn it up any better.”
Tucker homered in his major-league debut earlier this season, and his second homer came in his hometown. He was incredulous to hear that Diamondbacks legend and Hall-of-Famer Randy Johnson was at the game in the broadcast booth, and said that to hit a home run at Chase Field “means the world to me.”
“I always dreamed about winning baseball games in this stadium,” he said. “It was really fun to do that tonight.”
Pirates: OF-IF Lonnie Chisenhall (calf strain) began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Indianapolis on Tuesday.
Pirates: RHP Chris Archer (1-2, 4.33 earned run average) is expected to be reinstated from the 10-day injured list for his sixth start of the season Wednesday afternoon against Arizona. He’s been dealing with thumb pain in his throwing hand.
Diamondbacks: RHP Zack Greinke (5-1, 3.16 ERA) takes the mound against the Pirates needing nine strikeouts to reach 2,500 in his career.