PITTSBURGH (AP) — Kevin Newman’s two-run pinch-single with one out in the ninth inning lifted the Pittsburgh Pirates over the Minnesota Twins 6-5 victory on Thursday.
Newman ended Pittsburgh’s seven-game losing streak when he took a pitch from Minnesota closer Taylor Rogers (1-1) and laced it up the middle against a drawn-in infield to score Cole Tucker and Bryan Reynolds.
Gregory Polanco hit a 446-foot, three-run home run for the Pirates that bounced into the Allegheny River. Phil Evans added an RBI groundout in the eighth that allowed Pittsburgh to pull within one and set the stage for the Pirates’ third win of the season. Sam Howard (1-0) picked up the win after pitching 1 1/3 scoreless innings in relief.
Miguel Sano hit a three-run home run and Byron Buxton and Eddie Rosario also went deep for the Twins, who saw their six-game winning streak snapped. Minnesota missed a chance to put together the best start in franchise history, falling to 10-3, a start matched by the club five previous times, the last in 2001.
Minnesota starter Kenta Maeda surrendered Polanco’s first home run in 14 months but little else over six innings of work. Maeda struck out four and walked three while retiring 15 of the final 16 batters he faced. He exited with a two-run lead before things slipped away late following an uncharacteristically sloppy performance by the Twins’ bullpen.
The Pirates scratched across a run in the eighth when Jarrod Dyson singled leading off the inning, then stole second and third before coming home on a routine grounder by Evans.
Colin Moran started off the ninth with a flare to left field. Tucker came on to pinch run and raced to third on a double by Reynolds. The Pirates, who came into the game hitting a National League-worst .186 as a team, earned a rare moment to celebrate during their tough start when Newman recorded the fifth walkoff hit of his career.
Pittsburgh rookie JT Brubaker lasted three innings in his first start. Sano turned on a pitch in the first inning and sent a laser just over the fence in the vacant left-field stands for his third home run of the season. The Twins went back in front following solo homers by Buxton in the fourth and Rosario in the fifth off reliever Cody Ponce.
Twins: P Jake Odorizzi is scheduled to make his first start of the season on Saturday against the Royals. Odorizzi, an All-Star in 2019, missed the first two weeks due to a right intercostal strain.
Twins: Rookie Devin Smeltzer (1-0, 11.57 ERA) gets the nod on Friday when Minnesota begins a three-game series at Kansas City.
Pirates: Chad Kuhl will make his first start since June 26, 2018 when the Pirates open a three-game series with Detroit on Friday. Kuhl, who underwent Tommy John surgery in September 2018, has worked five innings in relief this season while “piggybacking” with Steven Brault. Brault is scheduled to come on in relief of Kuhl against the Tigers.
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