Gregory Polanco hits decisive homer as Pirates win weird 13-inning game, 8-6

Rob Foldy

Gregory Polanco's first big-league homer saved the Pirates in a 13th inning, putting them ahead 8-6 even after their bullpen imploded in the ninth. Polanco wound up with a remarkable five hits, going 5-for-7 in just his third game in the majors.

The Pirates got to Nathan Eovaldi early, as Polanco led off with a single, then came home on Starling Marte's line-drive homer.

Meanwhile, Jeff Locke had another terrific outing, going eight innings and allowing two runs, which came on a Jeff Mathis RBI single in the second and a Giancarlo Stanton solo homer in the third. After leading the National League in walks last season, Locke now had had just one walk against 17 strikeouts in his first three big-league starts. Polanco also got involved to help Locke defensively, making a terrific catch in shallow right in the third.

Andrew McCutchen put the Pirates up 3-2 in the third with an RBI single, and then the Bucs opened up a 6-2 lead in the fifth, as Ike Davis hit a two-run double, then came home on a single by Jordy Mercer.

Justin Wilson relieved Locke in the ninth, and that's when things got weird. Wilson went walk, strikeout, walk before being replaced by Jason Grilli, who looked completely lost, giving up a walk, an RBI force out, another walk, a single, and an intentional walk. Mark Melancon replaced him with two outs and walked in the tying run before finally striking out Marcell Ozuna.

And so the game went into extra innings, with Jeanmar Gomez taking over in the tenth. It's never good when you have to depend on Jeanmar Gomez after Wilson, Grilli and Melancon make a mess, but Gomez was terrific. He got through three innings (stranding Casey McGehee after he doubled in the 12th) before Clint Barmes singled off Mike Dunn in the 13th. Gomez moved Barmes up with a sacrifice, and then Polanco hit a line drive (off Dunn, a lefty) to right-center that cleared the fence to make it 8-6. Gomez pitched a 1-2-3 13th to end it.

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