In the second at-bat of the game, Gregory Polanco grounded into a double play where he cautiously ran down the line and barely made it to first base. I questioned if Polanco can’t even run to first base, why is he starting and playing the field? Well, two home runs later and I had my answer as the Pirates won their 5th straight game.
Trailing 1-0 in the top of the 6th inning, Polanco belted his 11th home run of the season to right field for a go-ahead tw0-run bomb off Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez. The Bucs added a run in the 7th inning on John Jaso‘s RBI single and then Polanco finished off his stellar game with a solo home run for his second HR of the game and 12th of the season to tie McCutchen for the team lead.
Jon Niese had a decent start as he scattered seven hits in 5.2 innings with three strikeouts and anytime the Bucs can pick up a win in his start is a positive thing. Niese’s ERA fell to below 5.00 again.
The bullpen gave up their first run in more than a week as the Cards pushed a run across in the 9th inning against Juan Nicasio before Neftali Feliz came in to shut the door for his first save of 2016.
The 41-40 Pirates are now above .500 for the first time since June 15. After a 9-19 month of June, the Pirates are a perfect 4-0 in July and will look to keep their winning streak going tonight.
Jameson Taillon was expected to make the start tonight in game two of the series, but he surprisingly hit the DL with shoulder fatigue. Is this a move to basically limit his innings for the year? Anyway, instead of Taillon tonight, another Bucs promising prospect will make his Major League debut tonight as Steven Brault will start against the Cards at 8:09PM. The Cards will start Mike Leake opposite Brault. Leake is having a mediocre season, but always is a problem for the Pirates.